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Wellesley wife, sister, daughter running Boston Marathon for father battling brain cancer

Wellesley family running Boston Marathon for father battling cancer
Wellesley family running Boston Marathon for father battling cancer 02:51

WELLESLEY - Take just a few steps in the Cohens' home in Wellesley and you can't help but notice the positivity that fills it. Twenty-four-year-old Mackenzie Cohen is gearing up to run her fourth marathon, her second in Boston.

"I always said I'm not doing it again. There is no one that's going to convince me," Mackenzie said. "Then obviously when my dad got sick, you think about all these things you said you would never do."

Bret Cohen is a 56-year-old father of four and was diagnosed with glioblastoma last April. The brain cancer has no known cure.

"I feel great, and I feel better than I should," Bret said. "That's how I feel."

Since April of last year, Bret has had two brain surgeries and undergone clinical trials. He started chemo in March. "It's been challenging," Bret said.

To mark the year since his diagnosis, his wife Adrienne, daughter Mackenzie, and sister Britt will step off in Hopkinton for the 127th Boston Marathon.

"I am not sure that I will be breaking any records time wise, but we are going to get there," said Adrienne.

The family has faced nearly every obstacle, every emotion over the last 12 months but it's Bret who has been the guiding light.

"He has just faced this challenge with unwavering optimism, courage, grace, strength and he is my hero," said Adrienne.

Adrienne, Mackenzie, and Britt are running to raise money for Dana-Farber. The cancer institute has become a second family for the Cohens.

"Dana-Farber gave us something that this diagnosis took away from us in the beginning, which is hope," said Adrienne.

The family made bracelets to rally around Bret, setting a goal of raising $40,000. They have well surpassed that and are still going.

Bret Adrienne Cohen
Bret, Adrienne and Mackenzie Cohen CBS Boston

"I want there to be more tomorrows so if raising money brings that, then we will keep running until there is a cure," said Mackenzie.

Come Marathon Monday, Bret will make his way to Washington Street to watch his family run. It's the halfway point for the marathon and just blocks from his house. He will then head to the finish line to greet them.

"Because we are running for Dana-Farber, we are quite literally running towards the finish line of curing cancer," said Adrienne.

Since his diagnosis, things have changed. Speaking is more difficult for Bret. He stepped away from his job as a litigator. The family spends a lot of time together now. They are currently in the thick of a race unlike any other but are relentless in their pursuit of a cure, taking it one step at a time.

"We are grateful for every minute, we consider every day at this point kind of a bonus day, and we treat it that way," Adrienne said.  

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