Cambridge Resident Racing for a Reason

April 3, 2000 -- Belmont, MA -- Michael O’Neil, of Fairfield St., will be running the 2000 Boston Marathon for a special cause – children with mental illness.

The Cambridge resident will be running the 26.2-mile course on April 17 to help raise money for McLean Hospital’s Child and Adolescent Program (CAP). The monies raised will go directly to CAP’s program for children who have been placed in state custody for safety reasons.

"This is a program designed to provide children with a family-like environment and is an alternative to locked inpatient hospital units," said Cynthia Kaplan, PhD, administrative director of CAP. "These children, many of whom are survivors of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and need intense preparation for transition to less restrictive care, cannot be placed in residential schools or foster homes due to the lack of space, so they are cared for in our program until they can be placed in a long-term home."

While McLean provides the children with the best psychiatric care available, it can not provide some of the other things every teenager wants and needs.

"These kids come to us often with just the clothing they’re wearing, they don't own a walkman, they don’t own a watch, they've never been to the MFA, they've never been to a Red Sox game. The idea of helping them get ready for non-institutionalized care has to do with re-socializing them. The money raised by the marathon runners will help us do that and make their lives a bit happier."

To help support your local runners and these children, please contact Claire Ryan at 617-855-2201.