Molly Eisenberg with Kevin Schuster on Lexington High School's prom night in 2007. Submitted photo.
He took her to the prom in high school, and now Kevin Schuster will take the memory of his late friend Molly Eisenberg with him on a 26.2 mile run.
Schuster, 22, a senior at Boston College and 2007 graduate of Lexington High School, is running the Boston Marathon Monday to raise money for awareness and research of ovarian cancer, which claimed Molly’s life in 2009 when she was only 19 years old.
Schuster said Molly was one of his best friends, and her positive attitude and the way she lived her life continues to inspire him today. So when he wanted to run the marathon for something bigger than himself, Schuster said he decided to run in honor of his late friend.
“If you were having a bad day, Molly was the person you’d want to run into to bring your spirits up,” Schuster said.
Molly’s father, Eric Eisenberg, said Sunday that it means a lot to his family that Molly was able to touch people so deeply in her short life and that those people, such as Schuster, continue to celebrate her in meaningful ways.
“She was a special kid, a very special person,” Eric Eisenberg said.
Schuster said he took Molly to the prom when he was a senior in high school. She was a junior at Lexington High School at the time, and she played volleyball before graduating in 2008. Molly then enrolled at the University of Oregon with plans to study anthropology or sociology. But after only a week at the university, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, had surgery, and had to begin chemotherapy treatments. Her family had moved to Walnut Creek, Calif., after she graduated high school and she died in a hospice near their home on Oct. 21, 2009.
Schuster said he stayed in touch with Molly after she became ill, but he said one of his biggest regrets is that he didn’t stay in closer contact with her after she moved.
By running the marathon in her honor, Schuster said he’s hoping to raise awareness about ovarian cancer. The disease is the deadliest of all gynecological cancers and the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among American women, according to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, based in Washington, D.C. Early detection greatly increases the chances of survival.
Schuster said a portion of the $1,200 he’s raised for the marathon will go to the nonprofit group Ovations for the Cure of Ovarian Cancer. He is also raising money with his fellow students for Boston College’s Campus School for special needs students.
Schuster said he’s excited about running his first marathon and, after a training run of more than 20 miles about three weeks ago, he thinks he is ready.
“I’m looking at it as just another run, but with a lot of people watching,” he said.
Schuster isn’t the only one of Molly’s friends who have been working to keep her memory alive. On Sept. 30 this year, Lexington High School will hold the third annual “Volley for Molly” game that has raised thousands of dollars to promote awareness of ovarian cancer.
“These sort of events, such as Kevin running in Molly’s name in the Boston Marathon and third Volley for Molly game and Lexington community support in the fall keep her memory alive for us and that is immeasurable," said Molly’s mother, Karen Large.
More information about Ovations for the Cure of Ovarian Cancer can be found online at www.Ovationsforthecure.org