My name is Zakarias Gomes. I was raised in Arlington, MA and currently live in Quincy. I am in my third year of teaching US History at Randolph High School in Randolph, MA. I love teaching and encourage my students to challenge themselves and apply what we learn in the history classroom to understanding the world around us. This April I will be running the Boston marathon for the second time.
I realized I had a passion for running while training for my first half marathon 6 years ago. Even though I had little experience running, I craved the constant motion and excitement of running mile after mile through the neighborhoods in my town. Finishing that first race was an unforgettable experience. Since then, I have run four marathons and two ultra-marathons. The Boston Marathon is an incredible race with inspirational crowds and a strong history. This race has shown me how important running is to so many people's lives throughout the world.
In January of 2013, I started training for my first marathon. At the same time, my father’s kidneys failed and he had to go on dialysis treatment. My father, who is from the Cape Verde Islands, lived with kidney disease for 6 years. He needed to exchange fluid as part of a daily dialysis treatment that consisted of a 2-hour daily exchange and an overnight exchange. It was an essential process because it removed waste from his body and provided the function of a kidney by cleaning the blood. I am delighted to say that he had a successful kidney transplant in June 2014.
I am running this marathon for my father, Cristiano.
Since the kidney transplant, my father's life and lifestyle continue to improve. He consistently has the energy to enjoy many outdoor activities that were difficult for him to do before the transplant. His courage throughout treatment and recovery has shown my family and I just how important it is to receive a kidney transplant after going on dialysis.
Over 26 million Americans currently live with this genetic disease, and African-Americans are three times more likely to suffer from it than others. I am raising money for the National Kidney Foundation because I believe that everyone can make a difference to improve the lives of those affected by kidney disease. My father’s strength and positive outlook on life have shown me that he can overcome anything. Now, for the second time, I want to show that strength by running the 2017 Boston Marathon and reaching my goal of raising $5,000.
My family is fortunate enough to assist NKF in their efforts to provide awareness, prevention, and treatment of this disease. Please join me in helping individuals who are going through what my father experienced by donating to the National Kidney Foundation.