Saturday, October 11, 2014

Ginger Betty Brings Sweetness and a Message of Peace to Life

A funny thing happened after Aquatics Therapy class at Spaulding Rehab last Tuesday....

“Did you find a parking space?” she yelled out to me as I was returning to my car after Aquatics Therapy at Spaulding Rehab.

“Um yeah,” I called back not thinking much about it.

“Did you run the Marathon?”

The weather was still warm enough for me to wear my 2009 Boston Marathon finisher’s jacket.

Something nudged me to go over to her car.

“I ran the 2009 Boston Marathon for Spaulding as a mobility impaired runner.”

She told me that she was sorry about the parking space and she was only planning to be at Spaulding for a few minutes dropping off a gift basket for the nurses on her mother’s floor. I told her not to worry. We found one just down the street.

An hour later and with me receiving this gift of a Halloween Gingerbread Cookie,

we parted ways having felt a deep connection through the love and peaceful spirit of Martin Richard.

Beth Veneto, better known as Ginger Betty of Ginger Betty’s Bakery in Quincy was at the Lenox Hotel on April 15, 2013. Like so many stories of that day, through the grace of God, she was safely inside and not across the street when the first explosion happened. She made her way to safety through a side door at the Lenox avoiding the chaos and confusion on Boylston Street that day.

Something tugged at her heart about Martin Richard’s death. She created Martin Richard Peace Cookies and approached the Richards’ family asking for their permission to sell the cookies to raise money for the Martin Richard Foundation. She was stunned to discover that she had created Martin’s First Communion cake. To date she has raised $11,000 for the Foundation which keeps Martin’s Spirit alive. She won Best in Show “Team Up For Peace” at last year’s Boston Christmas Festival.

She brought gingerbread cookie magic to this year’s Boston Marathon.

Betty hosted Martin’s younger sister Jane’s birthday party at Ginger Betty’s Bakery creating a Ginger Jane chef’s hat for Jane as captured in this Boston Globe photo:

There is no doubt in my heart that Martin’s Spirit is blessing this world bringing together foot soldiers to carry out his message of “No more hurting people…Peace” and that he is bringing healing to the world.

A man with a Boston Marathon Survivor shirt was in front of our car when we finished the Marathon Sports Cambridge 5 Miler/3 Mile City Walk. We struck up a conversation to learn that he is Leo Fonesca, the CEO of Stephanie’s Restaurant Group. We shared our Marathon Monday experiences. We saw him a few times around town. Before Boston Marathon Weekend, we visited the Memorial at the Boston Public Library and had dinner at Stephanie’s on Newbury Street.

On August 24th, Tom and I were hosting a Fall Marathon training water stop for our running club, L Street when a familiar looking runner stopped by.

“Don’t I know you?” he asked Tom and me.

We remembered who he was and were surprised to find out that he is a member of L Street. “I’m running New York for the Martin Richard Foundation. They asked me if I would and how could I say no.” This will only be Leo’s 2nd marathon. In my Facebook feed, a new friend, Jake Maulin who I met at the Marathon Sports 5 Miler in July posted Leo’s fund raising page Jake, of TriJake was his trainer. You can read about Leo and Jake's journey on the road to the Boston Marathon in this Runner's World article.

After seeing the post and going to Leo’s fund raising page, I was moved to make a donation. Coincidentally, they are having a fund raiser next week at Stephi's in Southie.

Whenever I feel anger surface toward those responsible for the events of 4/15/13 or the violence that happened during my childhood and adolescence, I think of Martin and his message, “No more hurting people. Peace.”

What a blessing to connect with Ginger Betty outside of Spaulding Rehab in a not so chance meeting. Let’s share cookies, make friends, be sweet and share Martin’s message of peace.

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