Mike O’Callaghan

Ellen and Blaise Doremus

Pictured: Brigham Legacy Society member Mike O’Callaghan

Since childhood, running has been a big part of Mike O’Callaghan’s life. Along with this passion has been the long-held dream to one day run the famed Boston Marathon.

“I often thought about running the marathon as a major run in my career,” says Mike, a high school track coach from Arizona.

A few years ago, he began researching nonprofit organizations that are part of the Boston Athletic Association’s charity program and was inspired by the work and mission of Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

“What particularly resonated for me was the Brigham’s long history of excellence in women’s health, especially given all the important women—my mom, wife, daughter, and four sisters—in my life,” he says.

Mike’s journey to the starting line began in early 2020, when he applied for and was accepted onto the Brigham Stepping Strong Marathon Team, which raises funds for The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation. But Mike’s journey took a couple detours; in 2020, the Boston Marathon was cancelled due to the pandemic, and in 2021, he was sidelined while recovering from a partial knee replacement.

Finally, Mike’s dreams of crossing the finish line came true when he completed the 2022 Boston Marathon as part of the Stepping Strong team. While training for the race and working with the team, he and his wife, Jeni, learned more about the Brigham and the innovative work taking place throughout the hospital, including the Stepping Strong Center.

The center was established by the Reny family to honor the Brigham medical team that saved their daughter Gillian after she was critically injured in the Boston Marathon bombings 10 years ago. The center’s aim is to transform care for civilians and military heroes who have endured traumatic injuries and events. It supports innovations in trauma research and care, like the Ewing Amputation, which was chronicled in the PBS documentary “Augmented.” This revolutionary procedure, pioneered by Brigham surgeon Matthew Carty, MD, preserves the muscles and nerves that communicate with the brain, enabling patients to sense their prosthetic as a natural limb.

“Knowing that the Stepping Strong Center was instrumental in funding this research really solidified my interest in the center,” Mike explains.

Inspired by his experience with the team and impressed by all he learned about the hospital and the Stepping Strong Center, Mike and Jeni decided to include a gift in their estate to the Brigham to support the center’s work. In recognition of the O’Callaghan’s generosity, the Brigham welcomed them into The Brigham Legacy Society, which celebrates donors dedicated to shaping the future of medicine by including the hospital in their estate plans.

“Our hope is that our estate gift will help continue research, development, and implementation of innovations, like the Ewing Amputation, in the future,” Mike says.