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A Boston Marathon Runner with Lupus Crosses Finish Line with Help from Her Brother

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Jeffrey and Jessie Russell

A brother helps his sister battle sysymptoms of Lupus to finish Boston Marathon. Photo courtesy CBS News

It was only a year ago that the world was rocked by news of the horrendous bombing at the Boston Marathon. So many tragedies came out of that event but so many stories of heroism and personal resolve came from it too. This year, a new, unrelated but equally powerful story of love, support and triumph comes out of the first race since the blast devastated do many lives.

Jessie Russell, 26, had a lifelong dream of running the full 26.2-mile Boston Marathon would be the year she would give it her all. The only obstacle could come from the lupus she had been coping with since her diagnosis during her junior year of high school. Sunlight aggravates the symptoms of lupus which can include joint pain, fatigue and skin rashes.

Her supportive brother, Jeffrey, went on her journey with her. He followed her route and snapped photos of her successes along the way. He was her biggest cheerleader. Jessie was doing great until about the 14th mile. That’s when the sun’s UV rays got the better of her. She spotted a medical tent up ahead and was considering throwing in the towel. That’s when her brother sprang into action.

He spotted a toy store nearby and dashed off to find something that would help Jessie finish the race. The object her returned with was a child-sized umbrella, blue and adorned with sharks. He said they symbolized her tenacity.

Jeffrey told his sister that if she truly believed the sun was the only thing keeping her from finishing the race and seeing her dream through, then he would be her medical tent, her water station.
Jessie’s sibling accompanied her on the remaining 12 miles, giving her the shade and the support she needed to cross the finish line and show the world what it really means to be #BostonStrong.

Jessie later told CBS News she could not have made it to the finish line without Jeffrey. “I just love him,” she said.

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