Blackstone Dining Room Server Completes New York City Marathon with Franklin Residents Cheering Him on from Afar

November 09, 2018

When Mat Felton “fell into senior care” at the young age of 19, he never thought he’d be the one receiving encouragement. About seven years ago, a TV show sparked the Blackstone, Mass., resident’s interest in marathon running, and 54 races later he’s traveled all over the country completing all types of races, including difficult Spartan and mud runs. Recently, Felton’s love of working with seniors and racing merged when he completed his second New York City Marathon. 

Felton is a server in the dining room at Benchmark Senior Living at Forge Hill, an independent living, assisted living and memory care community in Franklin, Mass. During his two-year tenure he’s developed deep connections with many residents and their family members, learning that, like him, many of them are struggling with kidney issues. When the time came to choose a charity, it was only natural that Mat would choose the National Kidney Foundation. 

Kidney disease affects people of all ages. Approximately 30 million people in the United States have some form of the disease, but only 10% know it. 

Throughout Mat’s preparation for the 2018 New York City Marathon, Forge Hill’s residents and associates cheered him on. One resident named Janet managed to sneak a good-luck card with a patch sewn inside into Mat’s belongings. The patch, with Cape Cod crocheted into it, was a good-luck charm and a welcome surprise. 

It was this type of support that he believes led him, in part, to run his fastest time ever. Mat completed the marathon in just four hours and 14 minutes, raising $3,000 for the Foundation. 

“Having a community full of people who care about you and cheer you on is really special and something I don’t think I would have anywhere else,” says Felton. “The whole process of fundraising, which is a requirement for the New York City Marathon and many others, is not easy, so I’m really lucky to have this kind of support.” 

“Mat has been called to care for our residents, and we are so fortunate to have him,” says Chris Brooks, executive director of Forge Hill. “Every day his humor and genuine love for our residents puts a smile on their faces. They genuinely want to cheer him on and see him do well because he’s part of our family.” 
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