John Cassinerio: #RunningForResearch 2019

Posted:Tuesday, January 22, 2019

By John Cassinerio, LMT

In writing today I wanted to share a bit of what has inspired me to become a massage therapist, and my motivation for running the Boston Marathon to fundraise for massage therapy research.

The young lady in this photo is my grand-niece, Sammie Hartsfield. She will always be the warrior that I want to aspire to be, and through her grace I hope to achieve (and have achieved) the ability to heal others through the power of touch.

Sammie battled Osteosarcoma for three years before succumbing to the disease at age 12, much too young to have dealt with such trauma. Her fight and drive to battle on every day, without fail, until she couldn’t any more, became a rallying cry for our family to understand what is truly important in life. Through her challenges I came to the realization that I needed to change course. I felt a new motivation to help others in a more direct way, leaving a comfortable career and embarking on the life-altering educational journey that bodywork can bring.

I had the great opportunity to become involved with the wonderful teachings of Gayle MacDonald at the Oregon Health Sciences University and learned firsthand (literally) how the power of touch can be life-changing, specifically with patients on the Oncology Wards of the Knight Cancer Institute in Portland, Oregon. This experience is another driving force behind my passion to bring more comprehensive research to the massage therapy field.

Touch has direct effect on the physiology and psychology of these patients and only more research will continue to raise awareness for insurance carriers and the medical community. We have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go to get the recognition and respect that our field deserves. My experience in Portland hardened my resolve to make a difference. Running to support the Massage Therapy Foundation helps me know that I am truly making a difference to support research in my field. To literally touch people’s lives in a positive, impactful way. Sammie taught me my initial lesson and motivated me to change course. I haven’t looked back since.

In the words of Mr. Garcia and Mr. Hunter…She will always be my Inspiration…and continue to Move Me Brightly!

Please click here to support me as I run the Boston Marathon on April 15th, 2019 to raise funds and awareness for the Massage Therapy Foundation

MTF President Douglas Nelson interviews Team MTF runner John Cassinerio about what motivates him to run and raise funds for MTF in the 2019 Boston Marathon:

About MTF

The Massage Therapy Foundation is a 501(c)3 providing support to the massage therapy profession. Since 1990, MTF has provided over $1 million in research grants studying the science behind therapeutic massage. The Foundation founded and publishes an open-access, peer-reviewed scientific journal and provides many educational resources for massage therapists, educators, and students. MTF provides community service grants to populations in need of therapeutic massage who would otherwise lack access. For more information, please visit