RUTLAND-Mrs. Claire Mullen of Rutland is justifiably proud of her just turned 40-year-old son Sean Mullen. Now a North Carolina resident, native Vermonter Sean Mullen-a graduate of the Class of 1988 of Fair Haven Union High School and a graduate of Boston University and the University of Massachusetts-still keeps in touch with his Fair Haven classmates and Benson-area neighbors. Vermont friends say he's always been an intelligent, personable, and determined young man. So, whenever Sean Mullen sets out to accomplish something in life, he often meets the goal.
"I am so proud of my son," his mother told the Outlook last week. "He raised $40,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. And he started running back in 2007 to raise this money."
According to Claire Mullen, Sean hasn't forgotten his Vermont roots. As a dutiful son, he visits his mother and friends in the Rutland area. He also keeps in regular touch via e-mail and telephone.
Mullen is employed by the Bank of America where he is responsible for making official filings by the bank to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. And to blow off steam from the high-pressure job, Mullen began running with his wife and other team members for the LLS. Their training and fundraising program, dubbed Team in Training, has been busy since 2007 in raising the $40,000 as the 40-in-40 campaign.
Mullen became interested in raising awareness about leukemia when he lost a family member to the disease and a young neighbor was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He became a member of the LLS board earlier this year, demonstrating his personal commitment to the campaign of fighting the disease.
"It's amazing to see kids so young facing such a challenge," Mullen said. "I think these youngsters are undergoing so much more than I would have to endure; it makes you push harder and train more."
Mullen kept his mother in Rutland updated on his runs that have benefited the society. The money raised goes to research to help in the ongoing battle against a disease that claims thousands of lives annually in the United States.
The in-shape runner's mother finally got the good news that her son had completed race number 36 just in time for his 40th birthday a few weeks ago.
"On the day of my 40th birthday," Sean said, "I received an e-mail that stated 'I would like to make a charitable contribution to get you to your $40,000 goal. It looks like right now the total of my gift would be $7,000.' When I received this e-mail-not while I was driving mind you-I was stunned; I almost fell off my chair. I was emotionally charged all day."
Mullen credits the fundraising success to finding a goal greater than himself.
"I think that people need to look beyond themselves for something bigger-a chance to make a bigger impact in this world. If I have the opportunity to do that and further LLS goals and missions and help another kid or adult put another candle on their cake, then so be it-I am gonna do it," he said.