Greenwich Academy seniors Bella Subramaniam and Heidi Jacobson have a long tradition of walking together each afternoon. The duo, who are good friends and neighbors, decided to turn their daily neighborhood jaunt into a way to raise money for Greenwich Hospital.
Bella had seen a video of a teen who walked a marathon. “I brought it up to Heidi at first as joke,” she said. However, as the girls discussed the idea, the more they were inspired to take on the challenge.
“We thought it would be a great way to raise money,” said Bella, adding that they immediately thought about Greenwich Hospital. They both have friends whose parents work for the hospital, and Bella volunteered as a hospital escort and creating take home packages in maternity her sophomore and junior years.
The pair received an overwhelming response from classmates, friends and family who wanted to support them.
Heidi, a competitive rower, said she Bella felt they were up to the physical challenge as they both run, walk and play sports. They carefully mapped out their 26.2 mile route and on April 19th the duo set out on their journey at 8 a.m. Seven hours and 45 minutes later, they ended their marathon walk in front of Greenwich Hospital.
“We walked all day and we didn’t take a break,” she said. They mapped their route past friends’ homes, who came outside to cheer them on — many holding encouraging signs while social distancing. They fueled themselves with water, fruit and snacks stored in their backpacks, and built in a bathroom break at their homes to remain safe. They also listened to music to stay motivated, including some throwbacks from their childhood
“We had a great Britney Spears mile,” Bella joked. “My biggest challenge was the last five miles. We thought middle would be the toughest, but we found that at the end we felt so close to home, but it was still far and mostly uphill.”
In the end, they were exhausted and proud, raising close to $6,000 for the Greenwich Hospital Covid-19 Support Funds.
“A lot of our friends reached out to us after, wanting to do something for their communities. Some want to do 5 K’s and half marathons. It is great to see,” Heidi said.
“It was very rewarding and really heartwarming how much our community helped and donated,” Bella said.