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Burnt Hills – Once Samantha Roecker completes her shift in the emergency room or outpatient clinic, she remains in the clearing.

This is because when the nurse’s work day is over, it is time to run. And these days, she runs into cleanups.

The 30-year-old native of Burnt Hills is training for Monday’s 126th Boston Marathon. She will run the famous 26.2-mile course – from Hopkinton to Copley Square – on an excellent set of Moxie cleaners that she says are more breathable than the paper dress and box you can photograph.

So most days, both before and after work, she puts on her cleaning and goes out on the street.

“At first I had a lot of weird looks,” said Roecker, who splits her time between her work at an outpatient ear, nose and throat clinic at Penn Medicine and emergency room clinics that are part of her program as a student of the University of Pennsylvania’s family nursing student.

But Roecker running is not a practical joke. Nor is it about breaking the Guinness World Record for being the fastest person to run a marathon in nursing cleaning, which she will do if she beats the time 3:08:22. (She’s likely to reach that point. This will be her 12th marathon – her third Boston Marathon – and her personal record is 2:29:59, located in Chandler, Arizona. hopes to run Monday’s race in less than three hours.)

Indeed, Roecker is running the Boston Marathon in the clearing to draw a very serious point – and raise money for an important cause. Roecker’s goal is to send a message of support to health care workers, especially about their health and mental well-being, which has been tested during the pandemic.

In addition to raising awareness, Roecker is raising money. Her campaign (had already raised more than $ 35,000 since Saturday for the American Nurses Foundation’s Welfare Initiative programs, supporting the mental health and well-being of registered nurses in the United States. The goal is to raise as much as possible money to support programs such as complimentary therapy resources, expressive writing programs, financial consulting, podcasts and mobile apps dedicated to mental health and well-being, as well as content dedicated to grief and mourning.

“Really dark days”

Her efforts have inspired others as well. Case Study: Former Roecker’s high school teammate at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School and current Burnt Hills coach Megan James set up a fundraising walk to continue the mission until May , which is National Nurses Month.

Roecker came up with the idea of ​​running to the clearings after seeing that one of her closest friends from Burnt Hills needed help. Roecker said she and her friend – whom she did not want to mention – met in high school biology class and quickly became attached to their desire to pursue a career in healthcare.

They both did – Roecker as a nurse in Philadelphia and friend as a physician assistant in New York City.

When the COVID-19 case crackdown arrived in New York, it demoralized many health care workers, including Roecker’s friend. The friend was transferred to work in a COVID intensive care unit.

“She suffered tremendously from the trauma,” said Roecker. “She was facing so many deaths and it was she who told family members that their boyfriend had died when they were not there. Just too much destruction and it was really hard for him to find any source of mental health. “She had some really, really dark days.”

Roecker wanted to help. At first, this meant trying to find options such as therapy for her friend. But mental health professionals were booked, and the more Roecker looked the less he seemed to find.

“She had given everything to the patients for two years and that destroyed her. “It just did not feel right and it was very disappointing that there were no resources available to help.” said Roecker. “She was really trying to get away from such a bad place. “It was so irritating for me that there was nothing there to help.”

So Roecker looked at the thing in her life that had always brought her peace – running.

“I was just thinking of a way I could use running to do something good and this crazy idea came to me. “It all started here.” she said.

The word spreads

Roecker’s message has taken off. As a result of the publicity that includes profiles in People magazine and the Philadelphia Inquirer, she is now known on the street when she trains in her Moxies. People often cheer and shout messages of gratitude.

“It’s so wonderful. “It just means that this is going to the right audience.” she said. “I have also received many nice messages from people on Instagram, whom I do not know at all who are nurses, saying how grateful they are. This is super unexpected and just beautiful. “

Dirty Burnt Hills and cross-country coach James, who is also planning to run the Boston Marathon, has certainly heard the message. She first saw Roecker’s campaign on social media and it echoed instantly.

“Sam himself is an inspiration to all of us. “As a runner yourself, just watching him develop from a young age to where he is now is truly incredible to watch.” said James. “Being one of her teammates, I know she works really hard and is not just walking on talent to get where she is. So that’s part of it. “

But the rest is that James, a physical therapist, knows firsthand what it is like to be a pandemic-destroyed healthcare worker.

“I was not really working on the front line, but we still feel the effects. “Day after day, we got dressed… and that’s just very demanding physically and emotionally.” said James. “We all know that everyone has fought, but health care workers have been at the forefront of this. “They are a cornerstone of our society and we need to take care of the people who care about us.”

To help support the cause, James is hosting a fundraising walk on the Burnt Hills runway on Sunday, May 1, from 3 p.m. The goal is for people to walk the suggested distance of 2.62 miles and offer a suggested donation of $ 26.20. All money raised will be added to the Roecker balance sheet raised for the American Nursing Foundation.

Roecker plans to be at the Burnt Hills event, in part because she wants to do everything she can to help health care workers like her friend in New York. Roecker said that friend has since gotten out of bed to teach in a doctor’s assistant program. But Roecker is confident her friend can come back to see patients again.

As for Roecker, she thought she wanted to work in sports medicine, but also enjoyed her time at the ER, even though her rotation in that environment began during the stressful period of omicron cases that began to arise.

No matter what she decides, running will remain central to her life.

“There were definitely some days when I was mentally exhausted, which turned into physical exhaustion and the training did not go so well.” said Roecker. “But I just reminded myself that I usually felt better when I ran. That was my constant during the difficult time. “

However, when the Boston Marathon is over, Roecker has no plans to run in the cleanup again. She will leave them in the office.

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