SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Sports

April 11, 2011

A HISTORIC MARATHON

Swampscott's Santanello will run Boston as first patient for Mass. General leukemia team

(Continued)

"Kristin is the one who deserves the spotlight now," said Dan Santanello, who turned 51 recently. "She's remarkably tough and gritty. She would eat nails. She's a great daughter and I'm extremely proud of her. She's turned into a magnificent young woman."

"It's not a death sentence"

A 2009 Swampscott High graduate, Santanello has a field hockey and lacrosse background. She was the fourth-leading scorer for the Salem State field hockey team last fall and is in good shape, but the marathon will be a completely different type of experience.

She'll take her cue from her dad. If she gets mentally or physically fatigued, she'll think about how her father got through the marathon for a dozen years even though he wasn't a natural runner.

"When my d ad decided to run the marathon, I would always look forward to seeing him do it," said Santanello. "He wanted to somehow feel what I was going through as a patient. He'd played hockey but he wasn't a runner, so I don't think it was easy for him.

"We've always had a special bond. My Dad raised so much money and it went directly to Mass. General Pediatric Oncology. The fact that I can help now — it's the least I can do."

Dan Santanello was one of the 10 founders of the Mass. General team, which has grown to more than 100 members who combine to generate in the vicinity of $1 million annually for the cause. One of the other team founders was Dr. Howard Weinstock of Newton, who will run with Kristin next Monday.

"He was one of the guys who saved my life," Kristin said of Dr. Weinstock. "It's always been my dream to run with him."

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