Inishowen man Mark Porter, a cancer survivor and eight-year veteran of the Boston Marathon, was one of nearly 6,000 athletes who have been invited back to the world’s oldest road race after two bombs went off, killing three and injuring more than 250 at last year’s event on April 15.
Mark was four miles from the finish line of last year’s race when bombs went off..
“At the time, we didn’t notice the increased police or armed National Guard presence,” said Mark who emigrated 20 years ago.
Joined by his daughter, Katie for the last remaining miles of the marathon, the pair was heading toward the final hill on the route when they received a text which informed them of the events that were unfolding on Boylston Street. A police officer they met confirmed the terrible news.
“What should of been a wonderful day was marred by those bombings. It is still hard to believe,” he said.
“The true spirit of Boston shone through that day. It made me tremendously proud to be part of such a great city.”
In March 2005, Mark was diagnosed with cancer.
“It was a life changing day for me. What I took for granted no longer was a given — it now was a blessing.”
Since then he has worked tirelessly to organise various events throughout the city of Boston to help raise funds for cancer research.
His efforts have been continuously supported by the city’s community and together a total of $250,000 has been raised for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston’s Children Hospital.
“It’s amazing. It is the continued generosity and help from the Boston community. They always rally together in times of great need and their willingness to help in any way has helped me raise these much needed funds,” said Mark.
“It is an important day for the city and it will be extremely emotional for all of us. First surviving Cancer and then being a witness to the events of the Boston Bombings has reminded me how it is so important to live to the best of our abilities and to enjoy life every day.”
To support Mark or learn more about this charity please visit LSCNOW.ORG.
Here’s a video of Mark during last year’s marathon: