Our family’s longtime hero, Dr. William Tan, is returning to the world of U.S. wheelchair marathon racing after several years away. Ipswich-based runner Jason Wertz will also be running again on Monday, April 20th!
Already a polio survivor, Dr. William Tan has now overcome his own struggle with leukemia! Notably, Tan races alongside inspiring Boston area athletes who survived the marathon bombing just two years ago. Many athletes lost limbs, and experienced permanent physical, psychological, and emotional injuries in that event. William Tan has embodied, since the age of about 3, what these survivors have shown the world since 2013: creative forms of competitive mobility and the desire to overcome. Neither polio nor cancer has stopped William.
Between 2002-2008, William Tan competed in the Boston Marathon seven times, once while carrying pediatric cancer patient and race partner Jessie Doktor across the finish line on his lap. Ironically, a few years after Jessie died, William was diagnosed with cancer. In his own words, Dr. William Tan says, “This Boston Marathon is my comeback race.” Go, William, go!
For anyone who wants to support William’s fundraising efforts for Bright Happy Power, please consider donating $28 (button at top right) to Bright Happy Power, provide your shipping address, and receive a complimentary copy of his book, mailed directly from Singapore. One review of the book says, “Tan’s journey of resilience in the face of adversity is captured in this book written with former Straits Times’ Life Editor Richard Lim and published by the National University of Singapore: NO JOURNEY TOO TOUGH.”
During Jessie Doktor’s lifetime, William raced annually in the Boston Marathon, coming back to the U.S. from different parts of the world each year. He even shared his Marathon medals with her and her older sister Sarah Doktor. William’s participation in the race raised funds and awareness for the treatment of children’s cancer in honor of Jessie Doktor. Later, he set a world record by completing marathons — as a wheelchair racer — on every continent of the world in a memorably short time and remembered Jessie’s own journey as a form of inspiration for his endeavors.
Once again, Dr. William Tan uses his mind and body to bring attention to children’s medical challenges. William is a local alum: along with a medical degree and post-doctoral degree from Oxford University, he holds a post-doctoral degree from Harvard University. William often appears as a motivational speaker and also speaks as a man of deep faith.
This year, another runner, friend and local father from Ipswich will also run in the marathon on the same day as Dr. William Tan. Supporters may follow Jason Wertz (bib 7138) on Monday, April 20. As a bonus, Ipswich-based company EBSCO will match funds donated to Wertz’s run. Donations made to Jason’s run will kick-start new programming for pediatric cancer patients treated by Mass General Hospital.
We are honored by both of these two racers, and all the athletes and active people who have put their bodies to work for Bright Happy Power, and thus the children and families we support. Over the years, racers, runners, walkers, cyclists, martial artists, dancers, and many other volunteers have helped to raise funds and work directly with children living with medical challenges.