Sarah Wessmann running 'Dork Strong' for FF Kennedy - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Sarah Wessmann running 'Dork Strong' for FF Kennedy

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BOSTON (WHDH) - It's hard to imagine the heartbreak Sarah Wessmann is feeling right now, less than a month ago her longtime boyfriend Firefighter Michael Kennedy died in the line of duty in that massive fire in the Back Bay.

The two were supposed to run the Boston Marathon together on Monday, but Thursday night she talked about how he's giving her strength to finish the race.
Kennedy was in the home stretch of the 2009 marathon when he stopped to show Wessmann that he had her initials painted on his calf.

“He was a tough guy and he was a guy’s guy, but he had a soft side and he was very romantic. Since I was little 143 means I love you, and he started to say 1437, which is ‘I love you forever.’ A few Christmases ago, he said he had an early present, and he took off his shirt and he's got the roman numerals 1437 across his arm and I was like, ‘whoa are you sure you want that on your arm’ but he was proud of it,” Wessmann said.

They loved each other and they loved the marathon.

Both were at the finish line last year, Sarah as a spectator one block from the second bomb, Mike as a first responder who came running from his firehouse to help a woman who would lose her leg.

“I took it personally, I grew up in Boston, I loved Boston, and especially having him be there,” she said.

They knew they had to run this year, together, for Boston.

“The day of the fire, the last, we'd been texting all day, and I’d just set up a fundraising page for the One Fund. I sent him a link to it and he said ‘you're the best,’ and I said ‘why?’ and he said ‘cause everything you wrote is so perfect, and I’m so proud of you running your first marathon, and I want to beat you so I can cheer you on at the finish line like you cheered me on for my first marathon,’” she said.

It was his last text.

“I knew he had a dangerous job, and actually he used to say to me every time he walked into a fire, he would picture me,” Wessmann said.

“I knew he was hurt. I was worried how hurt. I didn't think what happened would happen,” she said.

Sarah lost the love of her life in the Back Bay fire and she didn't know it at the time, her future fiance was planning to propose in May.

“I’m just going to have a hole in my heart. I don't know, he was a wonderful guy,” she said.

It’s been beyond tough.

“He used to talk in these little voices and add a y to the end of everything and I just found myself talking that way to people that don't understand it,” Wessmann said.

But on Monday, she will run her beloved marathon.

“It meant a lot to me before but now it means double. But it meant a lot to me just running,” she said.

26.2 miles with mike's initials on her calf and his number on her back.

“He can't be there at the finish line, but he can be with me,” Wessmann said.

Sarah will be surrounded by mike's friends at the finish line, all wearing the shirt that says "Dork strong" Mike's nickname. They're donating the proceeds from those shirts to Lt. Ed Walsh's family, the other firefighter killed that day.

For more information on where to buy a Dork Strong T-shirt, click here.

Visit Sarah Wessman's Marathon fundraising page by clicking here.

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