‘Running for Cover’
Jaffrey physician, runner, to receive Melanoma Foundation of New England’s ‘Keeper of Hope’ award
A Jaffrey man and his 35 running teammates will be given the “Keeper of Hope” award by the Melanoma Foundation of New England at the Shades of Hope Gala in Boston on Nov. 22.
Ross Ramey is part of the charity team “Running for Cover,” a group of 36 runners from New England and around the country who ran the 2013 Boston Marathon to raise money and awareness for melanoma.
Ramey, 60, is a physician at Monadnock Community Hospital, where he has been caring for in-patients since 1999. Ramey has also been a runner all his life. “I’ve always been interested in running the Boston Marathon,” he said over the phone Wednesday. “It’s the holy grail of running.”
But because of the difficulty in qualifying for the race, Ramey decided to sign up with a charity team. After considering his options, Ramey applied to run with the New England Melanoma Foundation group, Running for Cover. In his hospitalist role, Ramey has cared for in- and out- patients battling all types of cancer, including melanoma, and his brother and son have also dealt with skin cancer. “It sounded like an appropriate charity for me to run for,” Ramey said.
Ramey made the Melanoma Foundation team and prepared to run the Boston Marathon for the first time in 2013. Though Ramey had never covered the famous course, he had helped out for the previous five years at the finish line with his wife, who has volunteered for the past ten years. “I was always feeling I was giving back to the running community,” Ramey said.
When Ramey had his own chance to run, the thing he looked forward to most, like any runner, was the finish, where his wife and other finish-line volunteer friends would be. “It was pretty exciting for me,” Ramey said. “We had planned a reunion at the finish line.”
Ramey was a little less than a mile away from the Boylston Street finish when the two bombs went off. The Ledger-Transcript reported the story of Ramey and his wife, Lisa — who had been giving out Gatorade a little past the finish line — being in Boston during the Boston Marathon bombings in April. Both husband and wife were not injured, but Ramey, like many others, never got to finish the race. None of Ramey’s teammates were hurt, though one team member’s son was injured at the finish line. Ramey said the boy is now doing “reasonably well.”
Though Ramey still has his Boston Marathon dream to fulfill, he and his Running for Cover teammates were not stopped short in achieving their united goal of fighting melanoma, raising $220,000 in 2013. The team members also lent support and encouragement to one another by teleconference in the days after the bombing, and some of the group even laced up their sneakers and ran the Burlington Marathon a few weeks later. “We have great chemistry as a team,” Ramey said.
For these efforts, the Running for Cover team will be given the Melanoma Foundation of New England Suzanne Donahue Keeper of Hope award on Nov. 22. Ramey described himself as feeling humbled to be in the same category as past award-recipients. “I feel very honored,” he said. “We were doing what we wanted to do, raising money and awareness for melanoma for people we care for,” Ramey said.
The Running for Cover team is not only special for its accomplishments. The group of runners is headed up by marathon-legend Bill Rogers, who is the team’s honorary captain. Rogers is a veteran of the Boston Marathon, having competed in the race 17 times and winning four of those. “When you think of marathon runners, you think of him,” Ramey said. Ramey also called Rogers “very committed to the melanoma cause,” and he remarked on the relevance of the two men raising awareness for this cause. “He and I and others are poster children for people who are susceptible to getting melanoma: white, mail and over 50,” Ramey said.
Rogers was reached by phone Tuesday and spoke for a few moments about running, the Boston Marathon and melanoma. Rogers, who is 64 and lives in Foxboro, Mass., had a grandfather who died from melanoma, and also said his father was diagnosed with melanoma, but beat it. Rogers has been with Melanoma Foundation for the past six or seven years, doing press-related work, helping with events and, most recently, acting as honorary captain of the Running For Cover team. “The Melanoma Foundation gave me a chance to do something about this disease,” Rogers said.
Rogers was pleased about the team receiving the Keeper of Hope award, a honor Rogers said the team earned through a lot of collective work training, fundraising, and running the marathon. “It’s great to see this kind of effort rewarded,” he said. Rogers later added, “The whole team thing is great. It gives you a lot of strength with others there to help you.”
Both Rogers and Ramey will be running the Boston Marathon in 2014, Rogers with his family and friends, Ramey with Running For Cover once again. For Rogers, this will mean coming out of marathoning retirement and getting back into serious training, something that Rogers said won’t be easy, but worthwhile. “It will be a great day of celebration,” Rogers said. “A celebration of life — the opposite of cancer and death.”
For Ramey, running the marathon in April will mean finally crossing the finish line. “I just want to finish this year, and run down Boylston Street,” he said.
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