Ask Dan O’Neil why he’s running the Boston Marathon® on April 18 and he’ll give you two names: Daniel and Andrew. They’re his nephews and they attend Perkins School for the Blind.
“I am eternally grateful to Perkins for the care and education my nephews get,” he said. “I am in awe of the work they do for their students.”
O’Neil is one of three members of the Perkins Marathon Team. In addition to tackling the 26.2 hilly miles from Hopkinton to Boston, Team Perkins has also set a goal of raising $25,000 for children and young adults who are blind. O’Neil has personally pledged to raise $6,500 for Perkins.
O’Neil works as a payroll supervisor at Lemuel Shattuck Hospital. He lives in Dedham, Massachusetts, where he started a special needs basketball program.
In 2015, O’Neil ran the Falmouth Road Race to raise money for SMILE Mass, which plans day trips and vacations for families living with children or adults with disabilities. In 2014, he ran the same race to raise funds for the Joslin Diabetes team.
O’Neil also recently ran the Boston Athletic Association’s distance medley, which consists of a 5k, a 10k and a half marathon.
“I never thought I could run a half marathon until I met the right trainer,” he said. “My biggest obstacle was myself.”
He’s ready now to tackle a marathon. “It’s always been a dream of mine to run the Boston Marathon,” he said. “I want to run this race for all the folks that physically can’t.”
To support O’Neil’s Boston Marathon run and make a donation to Perkins School for the Blind, visit his secure Crowdrise fundraising page.
All donations will support Perkins School for the Blind’s programs – on campus, in the community and around the world – that help children and young adults who are blind, deafblind or visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities, reach their full potential.
O’Neil is also planning a two-mile fun run/walk in East Dedham, Massachusetts, on March 26. Discounted entry fees are available for Perkins parents and students. Tickets are available online for purchase.