By Christine Urio MONROE — With the 2018 Boston Marathon fast approaching, racers are finalizing their training in anticipation of the race.Monroe native Giuliana Caranante, who now lives in Boston, will be participating in the marathon as a charity runner to support the Last Call Foundation, a nonprofit with the mission to provide funding, education, and research to advance the safety needs of the firefighting community.“I’ve never really considered myself a runner, I don’t get the illustrious 'runners high,' I don’t crave going on a long run, and prior to registering for the marathon, the most I’d run at once was six or seven miles,” she said. “But when I found out I could run the marathon for a charity I was passionate about, I knew I wanted to take on the challenge.”To operate safelyCaranante hopes to raise $7,500 for foundation, founded by Kathy Crosby-Bell in honor of her fallen firefighter son Michael Kennedy, who, along with Lt. Edward Walsh, died battling a nine-alarm fire on March 26, 2014, in Boston’s Back Bay, highlighting the unique challenges facing firefighters.“This is an important cause to support because firefighters and their firehouses are often not given the funding they need or deserve in order to operate safely; due to the nature of their jobs, firefighters face dramatically different health, wellness, and safety issues compared to the general public,” she said. “Firefighters need state-of-the-art tools and technology on the ground to better protect themselves and others.”Caranante’s brother, Andrew Caranante, has been a volunteer firefighter with the Mombasha Fire Department in Monroe for three years. His goal is to join the New York City Fire Department. “To be honest, I think Andrew first joined the firehouse because he had a few friends who were doing it, and he thought it would be cool," she said. “I think he quickly realized, though, that the brotherhood he found within the firehouse is unlike anything he’s experienced. The guys have supported him and encouraged him, and he found his calling in helping others and serving his community.”Caranante will also be running the marathon in support of her brother and his firehouse.“I hope my brother is proud of me for running to support him, but I honestly don’t know if my brother understands that I’m running this marathon 100 percent as a sign of support for him and his firehouse,” she said. “I know I can’t protect you (Andrew) when you’re racing to a fire on a truck or tending to an accident off the highway, but I’ll be thinking of you and your firehouse during every mile of the marathon. When I think I don’t have any more in me, or I feel like giving up, I’ll be thinking of all you do and be motivated to keep going in honor of you.”'Important to give back to your community'Although she now lives in Boston, Caranante believes it is important to remain an active member of one's home town community.“Even though I moved from Monroe, I still have family and friends here, and cherished growing up in a town that was always so good to me,” she said. “The natural instinct is to leave the town where you grew up and forget about it, but those people that leave have so much to offer, and can enrich a small town like Monroe in such impactful ways. I think it’s important to continue to care for and give back to your community long after you need anything from it.”EssentialsTo donate to Caranante's fund-raising page, visit tiny.cc/GMCLCF. To learn more about The Last Call Foundation, visit: lastcallfoundation.org.