Inspired by the legacy left by his father-in-law and a life- long dream to compete in the Boston Marathon, one man is setting out to raise money and awareness about stroke.
Duxbury resident Joseph Leonard will be running in the Boston Marathon as a mem- ber of Tedy’s Team, the team started by former Patriots player Tedy Bruschi, in hon- or of his grandfather Joseph Mills, who passed away from a stroke when Leonard was five years old, and his father- in-law, Timothy Webster, who ran the Marathon every year for almost 20 years.
“My father-in-law is a great source of inspiration, as he would run every year re- gardless of having a number or not,” Joseph said. “I thought it would be a good idea for me to get behind this idea of raising awareness and finding a cure for stroke, so Tedy’s Team was a huge draw for me.”
Tedy Bruschi suffered a stroke in February 2005 at the age of 31 and has become an advocate and spokesperson for stroke survivors. Bruschi created a team of runners to raise money and awareness for the American Stroke Associa- tion through participation in the Boston Marathon and Fal- mouth Road Race.
Joseph, who had not regu- larly run before joining the army in 2001, started training for the Marathon by running five miles four times a week and doing longer runs on Sat- urdays. After Tedy’s Team ac- cepted his application, he be- gan training more intensely.
“The Team looks at an ap- plicant’s fundraising history, running schedule and personal schedule to see if he or she is well-suited for the team,” Jo- seph said. “The Marathon is my major commitment right now and I’m lucky enough to have a schedule that allows me mornings to train.”
Joseph’s brother Patrick said he is impressed by Jo- seph’s level of commitment to the marathon.
“This is definitely the first time anyone in our fam- ily has tried to do something to this magnitude,” Patrick said. “It’s admirable that he is doing something in honor of someone and for such a great cause.”
Patrick said he has watched Joseph train through a harsh winter and reach out to many others in order to reach his fundraising goal.
“I am definitely very proud of him,” Patrick said. “It’s self- less and inspiring.”
Joseph has a goal of raising $5,000 and is focused on rais- ing as much money as he can. He has reached out to support- ers through social media and word of mouth, as well as by hosting bowling tournaments and fundraising get-togethers. So far, he has raised $2,364 for the team.
This is the first time Joseph has run the Marathon and said he is very excited for the opportunity to raise money for a good cause.
"I've done a bunch of half-marathons and I love the whole race feeling and being in the middle of everyone," he said. "People tell me I'm crazy fro doing this. 'Who would do that?' they always say. But my response is, who wouldn't do it for a great cause and with great people?"
Leonard's donation page can be found at tedysteam2013.kintera.org along with information about Tedy's Team and the American Stroke Association.