By Cary Shuman
North End resident Sabrina Dello Russo will be running in the Boston Marathon on April 17 to help raise funds for NEADS, an organization that trains and provides assistance dogs for people who are hearing impaired or have a physical disability.
Dello Russo, 41, was injured in the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013. After attending the Red Sox game at Fenway Park earlier in the day, Dello Russo and her friends walked to the Forum Restaurant to watch the Marathon. Dello Russo sustained an injury to her right leg, a concussion, and minor cognitive brain injuries in the blast.
Dello Russo ran the 2014 Marathon in honor of her friend, Roseann Sdoia, who lost a leg in the explosion. Dello Russo completed the race in a time of 5 hours, 32 minutes. She competed again in 2015 and took last year’s race off.
“I’m back for this year’s Marathon,” said Dello Russo during a fundraiser Sunday at Prezza Restaurant, 24 Fleet St. “I was looking for a charity to help motivate me to run. I asked my friends, Roseann and Carla [Ascione], for ideas and they had attended a fundraiser for NEADS and I was more than willing to raise money for them.”
Dello Russo said another source of inspiration for her charitable endeavor is that “Marathon bombing victims Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes have a service dog named Rescue and Rescue was trained and given to them by the NEADS organization.”
Dello Russo, who is a real estate transaction manager for Liberty Mutual, has been training for the marathon with her colleague, Julie Bedard, who will be running in her first marathon and also raising funds for NEADS.
“I think what Sabrina is doing for NEADS is amazing,” said Bedard. “I think she has turned it in to something positive and she’s just amazing and strong.”
Dello Russo thanked her friends for attending Sunday’s fundraiser and supporting the cause.
“My goal is to raise $10,000,” said Dello Russo. “My family has been extremely supportive. My brother, Robert, owns a barber shop [Boston Barber and Tattoo Co.] and he is celebrating his 10-year anniversary with 10 days of $10 haircuts and donating the proceeds to the NEADS organization as well.”
Robert Dello Russo is not surprised that his daughter is helping out others with her effort of kindness and generosity.
“I’m very proud of my daughter for what she’s doing and what she’s done in the past,” said Mr. Dello Russo. “She runs this race for one reason: to help other people. She’s a wonderful person.”
NEADS Director of Development Cathy Zemaitis also expressed her appreciation to Sabrina.
“NEADS appreciates the efforts of Sabrina and Julie in running the Boston Marathon for us this year,” said Zemaitis. “We’ve raised and trained well over 17,000 service dogs since 1978 and their efforts are helping us continue in our mission.”