She runs for her patients

Dr. Nater and her children

Melissa Nater, MD, went from not running at all, to now — about to run her second marathon. Dr. Nater is a pediatric cardiac ICU physician at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, IL. She joined Team Advocate to run the Chicago Marathon and raise support for her favorite and most inspiring health fund, which is the one that supports her patients, Advocate Children’s Heart Institute.

“I see so many miracles at work. It fills my heart, the things these families go through,” Dr. Nater said. “My patients are my true heroes. They have endured, in a short time, more than most of us endure in a lifetime. And through surgeries, procedures, lines and tubes, they overcome and smile, play and succeed.”

Dr. Nater says the team at Advocate Children’s Heart Institute is like a work family. The patients and their loved ones often come back to visit after being successfully discharged. In fact, a few came to be her cheerleaders last year, when she ran the Chicago Marathon for the first time and raised nearly $1,300 for Team Advocate. It was a long, grueling 26.2 miles that she ran virtually.

“I thought I was going to need someone for motivation at mile 13. My patient’s mom and cousin came to the virtual race and cheered for me. It’s hard to run when you’re crying; I was so emotional,” Dr. Nater explained.

Her running journey started with a 5K as a way for her to get in shape and set a healthy example for her children. Now as Dr. Nater trains for her second marathon, she can’t believe how far she’s come. But she knows the funds she’s raising will ultimately mean more research and advancements for her patients. And that’s what keeps her going, every step of the way.

Dr. Nater is training for her second marathon and raising funds to support Advocate Children’s Heart Institute.

“I remember doing my first 9-mile race and I didn’t think I could finish. My running partner said, ‘Think about your patients and dedicate a mile to each one.’ So, I said, ‘This one’s for Kenny. This one’s for London.’ I thought of patients that have come through so much and it was totally inspiring,” Dr. Nater said.

Join Dr. Nater and Team Advocate

Be part of Advocate Aurora’s charity running team for the 2021 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Whether the marathon is on the streets of Chicago or virtual, by joining Team Advocate, you’ll help patients, give back to those who save lives every day and inspire others.

Since 2011, Advocate’s charity running team has raised more than $1 million for programs and services across Illinois. When you become part of Team Advocate, you’re running for more than yourself. You’re supporting cancer research. You’re helping children and adults with Down syndrome. You’re giving back to the nurses and doctors who save lives every day. Join Dr. Nater and choose a fund that matters to you. Learn more here.