For the past three years, Page Minihan Buldini '06 has run the Boston Marathon in honor of her father, Joe Minihan, who suffered a stroke at the age of 29, when she was just four years old. She runs as a member of Tedy's Team, an organization supported by the American Stroke Association and established by former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who had a mild stroke in 2005 as a result of a congenital heart defect. On Monday, April 21st, the Holliston, Mass., native will once again take her place at the starting line in Hopkinton, running not only for her father and other stroke victims, but for all those affected by the events of the 2013 Boston Marathon.
"I never planned to run four marathons," Minihan Buldini said. "I thought last year would be my last, that three was a good number."
In 2013, Minihan Buldini was in Kenmore Square, just about a mile away from the finish line, when she and the other runners were stopped and informed of the explosions. She counts herself lucky that her loved ones were in Copley Square, but safely inside the Lenox Hotel preparing for the Tedy's Team after-party.
"Everyone on the street was really helpful," she said, "giving us their jackets and offering their cell phones.
"People weren't running from the scene, they were running toward it. I thought that was really amazing."
Not only has Minihan Buldini chosen to run the Boston Marathon for the fourth time, she is marking the year with a running trifecta. She completed the New Balance Falmouth Road Race on August 10, 2013, and will travel to Tennessee on April 26th to participate in the Nashville Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon, focusing her energy on raising money and awareness for a cause that is close to her heart.
In 1988, Joe Minihan, suffered a vertebral artery dissection after an afternoon of basketball and lifting at the gym. This tear in the inner lining of the vertebral artery, which supplies blood to the brain, allows blood into the arterial wall and forms a blood clot. While recovering, Minihan suffered a major stroke, leaving the former collegiate basketball captain and father of two young daughters paralyzed on the right side of his body.
In the years that followed, Minihan had to relearn the most basic skills, including speaking and walking. Despite his physical limitations, he maintained a full-time career designing custom kitchens and dedicated his life to coaching high school basketball, as well as his now three daughters in every sport they played. In 2005, he returned to school to earn his Master of Education and is now a local special education teacher.
"The effects of his stroke were just a fact of life growing up," Minihan Buldini said. "I've never known my dad any differently. He's my hero."
She says she "lucked out" in inheriting her father's athleticism. A four-year player and two-year team co-captain on the Saints soccer team, Minihan Buildini laid the groundwork for her future involvement on Tedy's Team while at Emmanuel College.
"My college soccer experience alone allowed me to see the importance of team togetherness, hard work and the usefulness of positive action and fundraising," she said.
Running has always been Minihan Buldini's outlet. The Medford, Mass., resident discovered her passion for long-distance running with 5k races in neighboring Somerville, and applied to be part of Tedy's Team for the 2011 Boston Marathon.
"It's the coolest thing I've ever done," she said. "We're like family."
Of the former Patriots linebacker, who was back on the field just eight months after suffering partial paralysis from his 2005 stroke, Minihan Buldini described Bruschi as "very down to earth" and "a hero in his own right." After ending his 13-season career with the Patriots in 2008, with three Super Bowl rings, Bruschi climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2011 to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project and is currently preparing to run his second Boston Marathon next Monday.
"The tragedy that was Boston Marathon 2013 has only strengthened my desire to show my passion for the cause that Tedy's Team honors," Minihan Buldini said, "but also to prove that I, too, am Boston Strong."