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Mark Wahlberg Surprises Spaulding Rehab Hospital's Boston Marathon Runners

BOSTON (CBS) – Members of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital's "Run for Rehab" Boston Marathon team got a big surprise at their pre-race event when Boston's own Mark Wahlberg walked out on stage with words of support.

WBZ-TV's Lisa Hughes, who emceed the event at the Revere Hotel in Boston, was in on the surprise.

Members of the team and their families were delighted to see Wahlberg and fellow actor, Michael Beach.

Beach is a Roxbury native who also lived in Dedham. Both actors thanked the Spaulding team for their fundraising efforts and wished them a great race.

Mark Wahlberg Spaulding
Mark Wahlberg speaks to Spaulding Rehab Boston Marathon runners. (WBZ-TV)

Wahlberg made a point of telling the crowd that his decision to join the cast of the CBS Films movie, "Patriots Day" (about the marathon bombings and the search for the Tsarnaev brothers) came after careful consideration.

He says he was initially against the making of the film. But that was before he read the script.

When he read the script, Wahlberg felt such a personal connection to the story, that he signed on with the certainty it would be "done right" and with great care.

Wahlberg promised the audience of about 150 people that Boston will be proud of the way the city and its residents are portrayed in the film.

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Boston Marathon runners pose for a picture with Mark Wahlberg. (WBZ-TV)

Before taking a group picture with the Run for Rehab team, Wahlberg encouraged people to support the great work at Spaulding and help the team raise money.

To date, the 66 runners and two wheelchair racers have raised $460,000.

Several marathon bombing survivors who received care and treatment at Spaulding attended the event, including Heather Abbott, Roseann Sdoia, Dic Donohue and John Odom.

Odom and his wife Karen live in California. They returned to Boston for marathon weekend to reconnect with people who became their support system in 2013.

John was the last survivor to leave the hospital. When asked what Spaulding meant to him during his recovery, he answered quickly. "It meant everything. Spaulding helped me get my life back."

For more information on the Spaulding Rehab Boston Marathon team, visit the Run for Rehab website. https://giving.spauldingnetwork.org/raceforrehab

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