For the past 117 years, every third Monday in April, the entire world has been coming to Boston to run the famed Boston Marathon. It is a truly a special event that brings people together regardless of their background, race or culture. In many ways, it embodies the 3 “I”s of the International Space University: it is interdisciplinary, international, intercultural. The Marathon and spaceflight share another connection: in 2007 NASA astronaut Sunita Williams became the first human to complete the Marathon while in orbit aboard the International Space Station.
Vladimir Ivkovic, PhD (MSS ’06) is a postdoctoral research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School (HMS) in Boston, MA. His research, supported by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), focuses on mitigating neurological impairments in spaceflight, extreme environments, and in clinical settings on Earth. For the past 11 years, Vlad has also served as a firefighter/rescue diver in his native Croatia and in the United States.
Unfortunately, the Boston Marathon fairytale was tragically interrupted last year. On 15 April 2013 at 2:49pm as thousands of marathoners were completing their run, two bombs exploded close to the finish line, killing three and injuring hundreds of innocent people. "While it was a horrible and tragic day, the dedication and selfless work of the first responders and volunteers that I witnessed will stay with me forever. In the chaotic aftermath of explosions, these people displayed the best of humanity: strangers helping strangers, random acts of kindness, random acts of love." Vladimir is immensely honored to have shared the company of such people at such a time, and that he was able to render emergency care to some of the victims.
As one of numerous emergency responders that day, he has been given a remarkable honor to run the upcoming 118th Boston Marathon as a member of the Massachusetts General Hospital's Emergency Response Fund Team. "Each member of our 40 person team has pledged to collect at least $5,000 that will be used to provide social services for victims of disasters and their families, emergency care, disaster relief and preparedness training."
If you would like to read Vladimir’s story and why it is so important for him to run the 118th Boston Marathon as a member of this team, please check out his fundraising page: http://www.crowdrise.com/mghemergencyresponsefundteam/fundraiser/vladimirivkovic1
There is a further link between ISU’s central campus location and Boston. Strasbourg is twinned with five cities in Europe and worldwide, one of them is Boston.
The twinning with the capital of Massachusetts was first promoted by Charles Munch, the Strasbourg-born conductor of Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1949 to 1962. The twinning arrangement highlights three main areas; university and research, cultural and student exchanges