With great excitement I am announcing I will be running the 2023 NYC Marathon! As a member of the Miles for Miracles Team, I hope to pay it forward and show my gratitude.
Thanks to donors like you, I have successfully raised over $12,500 running the 2023 Boston Marathon in April!! As cliche as this sounds, this journey was a truly life changing experience. I am beyond excited to start this journey again raising money for the same great cause!
As many of you may know, my journey with Boston Children’s Hospital began when I was just a week old. I was born 25 years ago with a rare heart defect known as AP Window. In simple terms, this caused a hole to form between two parts of my heart requiring delicate and complex open heart surgery to repair it. At 2 weeks old, with a heart the size of a walnut, I underwent open heart surgery. At a mere 4 pounds I became the smallest person on whom BCH had ever performed the surgery and was given the name VIP (Very Important Peanut) as I was able to be held in the palm of a hand. Due to unforeseen complications, I spent the next month of my very young life under the supervision of BCH doctors and caring nurses. The first year of my life continued with my parents driving into Boston weekly for routine checkups, which eventually became less frequent through the rest of my childhood. During this tenuous time my parents were once told that I may not live long enough to see my high school graduation. Thankfully, due to the level of care BCH provides, and my parents will to fight for me and prove that statement wrong, I am living life to the fullest today.
Fast forward to 2018, at the age of 21 I was diagnosed with Epilepsy after suffering my third seizure in my lifetime. After being treated at Vanderbilt University Hospital (which was conveniently across the street from where I had my episode) it was recommended that I return to BCH for a checkup to ensure this was not at all cardiac related. At the time, even though I still felt like a child at the age of 21, I was unaware that BCH would still be willing to see me due to my age. I returned to consult with my original cardiologist from post surgery, who was still at BCH, a testament to longevity. Perspective matters, on this hospital visit, despite my 5'5" stature I got to experience feeling like a giant using the furniture in my room designed for children. Happily, my Cardiologist informed me my epilepsy was not cardiac related. Hopefully, this will be my last patient visit to BCH and end my 21 years of care provided by a great team.
I am beyond thankful to have been treated by the amazing staff at BCH, they are truly the ones to thank for me being here today.
Now that I am healthy and in shape to complete a marathon, I am excited to raise money so other children and families can tell a similar story as mine.
I am honored to still be running for my patient partner Oliver. He was also born with a heart defect (both ASD and VSD) which caused a prominent heart murmur, this continued to grow and he eventually needed surgery to repair the defect. He had a successful surgery at 3 months old and is now a healthy, energetic 18 month old. Him and his family provided much needed support and motivation to help me get through running my first marathon. From handing out water during our early morning/freezing cold runs in the winter to sharing advice and motivational messages to help me get through the worst of training, I can't imagine going through that experience again without them! #TeamOliver