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Tom O'Keefe from Boston

Tom O'Keefe is the founder of Stride for Stride, Heart to Cart, BostonTweet, Flutter, and 'Running with CKD' advocate. Tom is based in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Stride for Stride is a non-profit running organization that buys race bibs for immigrant, BIPOC, and low-income runners.

Kidney Transplant Recipient 01/10/24

CBS NYC Interview

CBS Boston: Change Makers

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Kindness

On January 10, 2024, Tom O'Keefe received a life saving kidney donation from his Stride for Stride teammate, Jorge Rosales. This book is the story of how being kind and empathetic to others gave Tom the greatest gift of his life

Things I've Created

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Stride for Stride

Stride for Stride is a non-profit running organization that buys race bibs for immigrant, BIPOC, and low-income runners. We currently sponsors 250 runners from 22 countries to run any race they want. More info at StrideForStride.com

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Heart to Cart

Tom founded Heart to Cart in April 2020 to purchase $100 supermarket for people in Boston who were suffering the most during the pandemic. During 2020 Heart to Cart delivered over $60,000 in supermarket gift cards.  

Bostontweet

Tom founded Bostontweet in 2008 as a way to promote local Boston business during the recession. During the past 15 years Bostontweet has grown to over 300,000 followers in the city. 

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#DownloadBoston

In 2014, Tom created #DownloadBoston as a way to create awareness for Boston­ based consumer startups.

Flutter

In June 2015, Tom co-founded Flutter to create amazing local experiences for local charities. Flutter was the opposite of an auction in that donations were capped at $10 to give everyone an equal chance at winning, regardless of financial wealth.

 

Flutter raised $125,000+ for numerous Boston charities - all via $10 donations.

Running with CKD

In July 2020 I was diagnosed with CKD. It was a shocking diagnosis - I don't have diabetes, I run 30 miles/week, I don't have high blood  pressure, I eat healthy and I no longer drink.

 

The reason for my CKD is still a mystery, but what we originally assumed would take years to degrade took less than two. In 2020 my GFR was around 65 - less than two years later it was in the 20s, and now it's 17.3. 

In the spring of 2021 my GFR plummeted and suddenly my doctors and I were making plans for a kidney transplant. At that time I was shocked and automatically assumed; "well, I guess I have to stop running." That assumption was incorrect. After a couple weeks of inactivity I put the running shoes on and ran 10 miles. It was then that I realized that I can still do this. My goal ever since has been to show others (and myself) that you can run with CKD. Staying healthy and staying active is extremely important. You have no idea how long it's going to take to receive a kidney transplant so you must keep stay active and stay healthy

 

Since my diagnosis I've been focused on finishing the race rather than worrying about pace. You can still do everything you love, even with end-stage CKD - for me that means running. In November 2022 I ran three back-to-back half-marathons in Cambridge, Boston, and Philadelphia. These three races were an incredible emotional and physical accomplishment for me. It proved that I can. I'm about 20 minutes slower in the half than I was pre-CKD, but that's okay - I'm happier than ever to cross the finish line.

 

My next finish line will be in March (2023) when I run the New York City Half-Marathon - my first race in NYC - followed by Boston's Run to Remember Half-Marathon on May 28th. For all of my upcoming races visit my Stride for Stride profile; Tom O'Keefe Race Calendar.

 

90% of people with CKD don't even know it (source). For many the biggest symptom is fatigue - something we all have. For me the tell-tale sign was foamy urine (proteinuria). If you have foamy urine please request a blood and urine test from your PCP immediately - check your creatinine and proteinuria levels. And, if you do have CKD start taking steps towards a healthy diet and an active lifestyle immediately.

 

For those interested in becoming a living kidney donor (for me or anyone on the transplant list) you can learn more at BIDMC in Boston or The National Kidney Foundation

 

Stay healthy. Stay informed. Keep Running with CKD!

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Contact Tom O'Keefe

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Boston, MA

617-947-8071

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