The Boston Marathon
And A Special Woman


 The Associated Press

BOSTON (April 14, 2001 11:51 p.m. EDT) - At 26, Katherine Lynch - who weighs only 35 pounds and stands 28 inches tall - has overcome more obstacles than most of her peers.

She has a unique, unidentified form of dwarfism, suffers from circulatory problems and back pain, and spends most of her time in a wheelchair or a walker.

But Lynch faces another challenge on Monday: she plans to toe the starting line of the Boston Marathon and walk 26.2 feet in 15 minutes with no help.

"If I can't do this thing, would I consider myself a failure? I don't like to think of it as failure because to me failure is a totally different matter," Lynch told the Boston Globe. "If you consider yourself a failure, you're giving up all sense of hope."

Lynch was only 13 inches long and weighed four pounds 13 ounces when she was born a month after her due date. Doctors wrongly diagnosed her as retarded and predicted she would die young.

But her parents tried to provide a normal family life, and Lynch graduated with honors from high school, where she managed the women's indoor track team and wrestling team. She graduated summa cum laude from Regis College and now works at Boston Children's Hospital as an advocate for sick children, their parents and siblings.

She also moonlights as a motivational speaker, championing the cause of the physically challenged.

Edward Mulholland, Lynch's economics professor at Regis College, calls her an inspiration.

"When I first met her ... all I saw were her limitations," says Mulholland. "I learned more from her than from any other student. When I think back now, I'm almost ashamed of my initial thoughts."

Lynch's father Chris Lynch said he revels in his daughter's accomplishments

"You look and you see her going through this, working so hard to meet her own goals, and then you look at your own life and what you do and you say, 'Gee, that's not so hard, actually, compared to other things,"' Lynch said. "It puts life into perspective. So it's pride plus."



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