Running to celebrate life

David and Lennie BakerThere is no greater gift than the gift of life. And that is precisely the gift David Baker gave his uncle.

The year was 2002 and Lennie Baker, longtime member of the rock-and-doo-wop band Sha Na Na, was suffering lost kidney function due to his diabetes. He was put on dialysis and told he needed a kidney transplant.

Exploring all the treatment options available, Lennie's nephew David was tested and discovered he was a match. The decision was a no-brainer. On Valentine's Day of that year, surgeons at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) successfully performed the transplantation.

To thank the BWH team that took care of him and his uncle, David decided to run the 2016 Boston Marathon with BWH’s Life.Giving.Breakthroughs. team. As David explains, "The doctors and the rest of the staff at BWH are miracle workers! I run to honor my Uncle Lennie and to show appreciation for the gift of life that BWH has given to him."

Sadly, Lennie passed away on February 26, 2016, before having a chance to watch his nephew run in the historic race. But Lennie's life, legacy, and abundant spirit continue to provide motivation and inspiration for David as he prepares for the Boston Marathon on April 18.

"It is going to be a much different race," says David. "Instead of picturing Lennie listening to the race on the radio and waiting for updates on how I am doing, I will be thinking of all the amazing memories of him. And I'll be thinking about the incredible doctors and staff at BWH who gave us an extra 14 years to enjoy with Lennie in our lives."