Stephanie and Collie Mathers, from Maspeth, and Natalie O’Sullivan from Sunnyside, Queens are running the 2014 New York Marathon to raise funds for the Rory Staunton Foundation, which works to promote awareness of sepsis.

Sepsis is a form of inflammation caused by severe infection. It can happen to anyone and is the leading pediatric killer worldwide. In April 2012 Rory Staunton (12) became sick after cutting himself while playing basketball, within days he had passed away from his undiagnosed sepsis.

His parents Orla and Ciaran Staunton set up the Rory Staunton Foundation to honor their son’s memory and fight to raise sepsis awareness in the US. Their foundation has had many major successes including the introduction of the Rory Law to New York and the recent National Sepsis Forum in Washington D.C. Their fight to stamp out sepsis continues.

Queens, New York, resident and native Irishman, Collie Mathers is running the New York Marathon this weekend with his wife Stephanie in support of the Foundation. (You can support Collie, his wife and their friends’ efforts by clicking on this link.)

Mathers answered some questions about his kind gesture to run the NY Marathon for the second time.

Why are we doing this?

As parents of eight young children we understand more than most the knocks, cuts and grazes that youngsters pick up on a daily bases. When we heard of the tragic death of Rory in April 2012 we were totally shocked as was the whole community, we like so many others had never heard of sepsis before and had no idea that it could kill so quickly.

As a friend of Rory's father Ciaran Staunton, my wife and I wanted to do something for the Staunton family to help them raise sepsis awareness, so we reached out to them in October 2013 and asked them could we dedicate our run in the 2013 NYC Marathon to Rory’s foundation and they gladly accepted.

To hear about and read all the sepsis success stories since because of Rory’s story and what the Foundation has done to date, it is a tribute to the strength, courage and determination that Ciaran, Orlaith and Kathleen have shown that has saved thousands of life’s as a result. So for us to run the marathon again to continue to help raise sepsis awareness is the very least we could do as parents for the Staunton family and Rory’s Foundation.

To know that the funds that were raised from last years marathon helped Ciaran and Orlaith host a National Forum on Sepsis in Washington DC which has made significant strides in harnessing the collective power of great citizens, members of Congress and the Senate, esteemed clinicians, health care system managers and even the centers for disease control and CMS to stop sepsis in its tracks, in itself is a good reason to want to run another marathon. 

An open letter to U.S. President @BarackObama from the Rory Staunton Foundation – It’s time to address #sepsis

— AboutSepsis (@AboutSepsis) September 17, 2014

Thanks to Rory Staunton Foundation for organizing the first National Forum on #Sepsis.

— Dr. Tom Frieden (@DrFriedenCDC) September 17, 2014

How much training did we do?

In last years marathon with a mile to go I hit the so called dreaded “wall”, I wanted to stop with every step I took, only for Stephanie and another runner who I never met before in my life, pulling, dragging and carrying me across the finish line and my inner mental strengths remembering why I was doing it in the first place, I don’t think I would have ever finished that marathon. I swore then never again would I put myself through that torture, but here I am again twelve months later ready to run again.

When I did decide to run this years marathon I vowed I would put in some training this time around, so since January of this year I have clocked up close to 500 miles running in New York Road Runner Races with Stephanie and Declan Kavanagh. We have ran Central Park numerous times and have run the streets of Maspeth, Woodside and Sunnyside not to mention the 59th Street Bridge at unearthly times of the morning, at this stage I can honestly say I we know every inch of that bridge.

I will say the training and preparation has been far superior to last years despite the work schedules and the juggling of the full time non paying job, along with the ups and downs and personal trails and tribulations through the year. So right now I feel I am ready for this one but who knows what obstacle we will have to over come on Marathon Day, but I’m sure Rory is up above and will help us through it.

Is this our first Marathon?

This will be my third Marathon; the first was the unofficial NYC Marathon around Central Park on November 4th 2012, as the Official Marathon on that day was cancelled due to hurricane Sandy. My second Marathon was on November 3rd2013 when my wife Stephanie and an unknown runner basically carried me over the finish line. So this Sunday November 2nd 2014 will be my third and hopefully my lucky and enjoyable one, one that I can be proud off and cherish for the rest of my life.

So with my wife Stephanie, our friends Declan Kavanagh, Natalie Sullivan and Kevin Nee we will all be wearing the Rory Staunton Foundation Sepsis Kills vest tops and with the months of training, dedication and sacrifice and with the spirit that will be evident throughout the day on Sunday we look forward to a successful and enjoyable run, beating the marathon and raising Sepsis awareness through out all five boroughs over the 26.2 miles.

What we’ll go through to cross the finish line of the TCS NYC Marathon this Sunday is nothing compared to what the Staunton Family have gone through since April 2012. Your support will mean the world to them, to us and to this fantastic Foundation, together, with your help and our miles, we can win this war against sepsis.

For more on the Rory Staunton Found click here or follow them on Facebook here.