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Woman To Run Boston Marathon In Honor Of Friend Killed In Car Crash

YORK, Maine (CBS) - When Nancy Eaton runs this year's Boston Marathon, it will be to honor a friend taken suddenly, just before Christmas. Amanda Turner Russell touched many lives as a labor and delivery nurse at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and now Eaton will accomplish her dream for her.

"Amanda will be running every step with me. I know that," Eaton said.

Amanda was training for the marathon near her home in Hanover. As she ran down Winter Street in Hanson, a car swerved across the center line and hit her before slamming into a utility pole. Amanda was rushed to the hospital, but died a few days later.

It was a blow to Eaton and the tight knit group of nurses at Beth Israel.

But as Amanda lay in the hospital, her mother had a special request for Eaton. "It was actually at her bedside in the hospital and her mom asked if I would take her bib for her and run for her," she said.

Eaton was honored. She and Amanda had run many races together before. She knew Boston was special to her friend. She was running on the Beth Israel team to raise money for the NICU.

"Boston was one of her dreams, on her bucket list and something she always wanted to do," Eaton explained. "I'm going to be able to do it for her."

Nancy Eaton
Nancy Eaton and Amanda Turner Russell (WBZ-TV)

That morning she looked at Amanda's fundraising page. It had just $485. Days later, that amount would swell to more than $16,000. Much of the money comes from people whose lives Amanda touched.

Friends say the 32-year-old nurse had a special knack with patients, especially those having a difficult delivery or whose babies had medical needs.

Amanda was a mother to an 8-year-old boy. She loved to travel and run. She loved sunrises and snuck away to the roof of the hospital to take a picture of the sunrise every day she worked.

"Amanda just had a zest for life that was unmatchable," Eaton said.

It's the memories that will push Eaton, a veteran marathoner, through every mile of the marathon. She'll channel Amanda's light in each stride.

"To be able to run in her memory is probably the biggest honor I've been given in my life other than be a mom myself. I hope I can do her proud."

For more information or to donate visit Amanda's marathon fundraising page or her family's GoFundMe page.

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