Belanger said that when he puts on his sister’s cap, he feels as though she’s with him.
”I wear it to keep her memory alive and I draw strength from it,” Belanger said.
Belanger’s long-time friend John Molori of Methuen said he is always in awe of Belanger’s determination.
”I marvel at what Kevin does,” Molori said. “I get on the treadmill for a half-hour a day and I think I’ve accomplished something.”
Molori said he’s reaching out to friends and colleagues in hopes they will support Belanger.
”I know that this means a lot to him, so anything I can do to help I’m glad to do,” Molori said. “He looks at this as carrying on his sister’s work. Before she got sick she helped a lot people.”
Belanger said melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and is the second most common cancer in people ages 15 to 29.
”When caught early, it is almost always curable,” he said. “MFNE’s mission is to reduce the incidence of melanoma in the New England region.
”The 26.2 miles is the least I can do, but I need your help in getting to the finish line,” Belanger said of his hope people will donate to his cause.
Legendary runner Bill Rodgers is honorary team captain for MFNE’s race team Running for Cover.
Belanger met Rodgers at a recent team meeting, where he gave the group a few tips on running the Boston Marathon.
”He told us to pace ourselves, try not to get out of the gate too quick, and not to attack the downhills too quickly or else you’ll pay for it at mile 17 and Heartbreak Hill,” Belanger said.
Belanger said he will also be running in honor of Cathy Shea Sonnenberg, a volunteer with the Melanoma Foundation who was diagnosed with melanoma in 2011 and continues to receive support from the foundation in her battle.