Westwood Resident Jessica Hajjar Runs Boston Marathon, Fueled by Memories of Mother and Drive to Conquer ALS


Photo courtesy of Jessica Hajjar. Westwood resident Jessica Hajjar, pictured with her family, will run in the 128th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2024, in honor of her mother who lost her battle with ALS on November 19, 2023.

Each runner in the 128th Boston Marathon this Monday, April 15, 2024 has a personal story behind what fuels the competitor’s run, and Westwood resident Jessica Hajjar has shared hers with Westwood Minute. She says:

“On April 15th , I will be running the Boston Marathon in honor of my late mother, who tragically passed away in November 2023 after battling Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). ALS is a devastating neurodegenerative disease with no cure, and witnessing my mother's struggle has inspired me to take action. ALS is an incredibly underfunded disease with no cure.

In addition to running the marathon, I have been tirelessly fundraising for the ALS Association. I am thrilled to share that through the generosity of friends, family, and community members, I have raised over $33,000 to support ALS research and patient care services. This cause is deeply personal to me, and I am determined to raise awareness and funds to help find a cure for this debilitating disease.

I believe that sharing my story could not only honor my mother's memory but also raise awareness about ALS within our community. By highlighting my journey and the importance of supporting organizations like the ALS Association, we can contribute to the ongoing efforts to find a cure for this relentless disease.”

Along with Ms. Hajjar, there are six other Westwood residents, aged 28 to 68 years of age, listed as entrants in the 128th Boston Marathon. In the male category, they are Jeffrey Harrelson and Michael Pomarole. In the female category, they are Megan Bobinski, Christina Divirgilio, Jessica Hajjar, Kirsten Kalkhurst Burbo, and Galina Yatsenko.

Ms. Yatsenko, after winning Westwood Day’s 5K race in September 2022, remarked to Westwood Minute that qualifying for the Boston Marathon was her secret dream. At the time, she was five minutes off the race’s qualifying time. It appears this year, she has realized that dream. Ms. Yatsenko has the go ahead to take her place in the iconic race, wearing bib number 21340.

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