Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton is greeting Brian Clay and giving him a sendoff on Thursday morning as he embarks on an 18.5-run to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, re-tracing the route of a life-saving Medflight trip one year ago, when he was diagnosed with an acute aortic dissection, also known as an aneurysm to his aorta. Clay, 42, said he’s going to “be a little emotional leaving the parking lot,” but he’s “really excited to be able to say thank you in person” to the medical team that helped him at Good Sam’s.
BROCKTON – One year after he nearly died from a heart condition, a Brockton native is running the route of the life-saving medical helicopter ride he took from Good Samaritan Medical Center to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Brian Clay, 42, was told that he suffered an aneurysm to his aorta, otherwise known as an acute aortic dissection, on June 14, 2017, after he left a wake in Brockton with “weird feeling” in his chest. Clay went that day to Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, where he was examined in the emergency room, before doctors there made the diagnosis and decided to rush him on a Medflight helicopter to Boston for life-saving open-heart surgery.
Clay, who lives in New Bedford, but grew up in Brockton and Attleboro, said he wants to take the roughly 18.5-mile run to commemorate that “miracle” helicopter trip that allowed him to continue on with his life as a realtor, husband and father of three young children.
“For me, this whole year has been so crazy, but it’s also been life-affirming,” said Clay, speaking to The Enterprise on the day before the anniversary endurance run. “Even though I already knew how great my life was before, and how important my family was, it really does make you look at the world a little differently.”
Clay said he’s using his run to help draw attention and raise money for the nonprofit Wings for Falmouth Families. Clay, whose realty job is based in Falmouth, said the nonprofit donates 100 percent of the money it raises to families dealing with medical crises.
“It’s a tremendous organization, completely volunteer, with no overhead at all,” Clay said.
Clay said he’s long been a runner, having completed the Boston Marathon twice, the Maine Marathon, and the Clarence DeMar Marathon, among others.
Clay said the last race he completed was the New Bedford Half Marathon, which he finished with his wife. It was also the first race after his surgery, which caused him to take three months off from work to recover.
“That was a really special day, too,” Clay said. “That was pretty incredible. My wife and I went across the finish line at the same time.”
Clay said he looks forward to meeting with the medical team that helped save his life, including Good Samaritan Medical Center emergency room physician Joseph Grueter, who made the life-saving diagnosis one year ago. Clay said the run is his way of “paying it forward” for Grueter and others who helped save his life.
“It’ll be the first time I’ve seen him since last year,” said Clay, speaking about Grueter, the Good Sam emergency physician. “I’m going to be a little emotional leaving the parking lot. But I’m really excited to be able to say thank you in person.”