JAY — Katie Nemi is running this April’s Boston Marathon in memory of her grandfather, Joe Nemi — and for lung transplant patients.

The 2008 Jay High School graduate recently graduated nursing school and now works in the Thoracic Unit at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She has been training as part of the hospital’s team, which totals 105 people, and is excited about running her first marathon on April 21.

“I’m just excited to be in the marathon,” she said in an interview last week. “Being able to be a part of it is an honor.”

She is raising money to help patients, and is 24 percent of the way toward her $11,000 goal.

At 7 p.m. March 22, Katie will have a fund raiser at LaFleur’s Restaurant in Jay with raffles, dinner, and appetizers.

“It’s just for an amazing cause,” she said.

Six years ago, Katie lost the most influential person in my life, her grandfather, Joe Nemi. On her fundraising website, www.crowdrise.com/bwh2014bostonmarathon/fundraiser/Katienemi, she talks about his influence on her life and the inspiration she receives daily from her patients. She says that her grandfather was a man who inspired her and made her realize at a young age the power of human relationships.

When he began to experience the cardinal signs of colon cancer he didn’t receive the proper medical attention until the cancer had spread. Katie remembers hospice nurses and their incredible courage and passion-filled care for both her grandfather and her family.

“The hospice nurses, along with my grandfather, are the reason why I am currently a nurse,” she said.

She feels like nursing is her chance to fight for her grandfather “and BWH and their commitment to extraordinary patient care has given me that opportunity. To care for every patient as I would have cared for him if given the chance.”

For Katie, nursing isn’t just a job or a career. It is a way of life, one in which she draws inspiration from her patients.

“Nursing has stirred my soul and uplifted me in a way nothing ever has; it has given me a feeling of belonging,” she said on the website.

She is running in the Boston Marathon in remembrance of patients that have received lung transplants and for those who continue to wait for that life-giving breakthrough.

“The tragedy that took place in the 2013 Boston Marathon left our city with fear and scars, but I will channel the fearlessness and bravery that I witnessed my patients embody during their medical struggles at BWH and run with my whole heart and soul. Here’s to BWH, a hospital that is truly BOSTON STRONG!”

Katie said that it definitely was advantageous to be training as part of a team, especially “the support, with it being my first marathon. We do cross-training and run hills. It’s nice to have someone next to you cheering you on.”

In high school, she played field and ice hockey and tennis.

“I never was a runner, but I always wanted to get into it,” she said.

Each week, Katie has been increasing her mileage, and on Sunday, ran a half marathon in Hyannis, Mass. Her goal for the Boston Marathon is to finish.

Katie is excited to have her family and friends come down to watch her compete at the historic April race. The support will be most welcome as she tackles the hilly course.

To donate to the cause or for more information about the March 22nd fund raiser, visit Katie’s website, call 207-485-9393, or send a check for her to Sandy Nemi at 7 Riverview Rd., Jay, ME 04239.

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