The following is a guest post by Laurie Ann March.
I started running to prove to myself that I could. There was a time when I was morbidly obese and walking to the mailbox would have been monumental. After I lost half my body weight I decided that I was going to run a single 5K race in support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation on April 28, 2012. One race and that would be it. As most dedicated runners know, it never stops at one race. I went on to run several more including my first half marathon in May and I am considering an ultra for 2014.
I run for a variety of reasons; to push beyond my perceived limitations, to model a healthy lifestyle to my two children, to enjoy the outdoors, and as a way to keep fit while living with diabetes. Running is my insulin. I run because I am proud to be part of a community of people who are strong in spirit. However, the most important reason that I run is to give back and that rings true this time more than it ever has before.
Meet Tyrel, the son of our dear friends Sandi and Phil Thomson. He turned 13 a few months ago. Tyrel is in renal failure and awaits a kidney transplant. He has hemodialysis three times a week. He has blood transfusions often. This young man has endured multiple surgeries to install a port for this purpose because of complication after complication. Tyrel’s second catheter fell out at home which was pretty frightening ordeal and recently he underwent a fourth catheter surgery because of an infection in the port. It has been rough. He can’t ride his bike or camp or run or play or do the typical horsing around that kids his age do.
His mom could be the viable donor. She’s going through multiple tests to ensure that this can be done. Tyrel’s dad is doing everything he can to bear the financial burden because Sandi has no choice but to take a considerable amount of time off from her career. It’s hard, between taking Tyrel to dialysis and his appointments, her own appointments as a potential donor, and emergencies that arise. Costs are substantial. While the medical end is covered there are expenses that are not. It isn’t just the lost wages – some medications aren’t covered. Then there are transportation costs and parking fees and overnight stays in another city. This is all adding up and taking a toll on the family.
The Thomsons are our longtime friends. They took us in for seven months when our home burned to the ground. They are people who help without hesitation and never ask for anything in return, including help when they need it. So, I created the Team Tyrel—Virtual 5K Run/Walk in the hopes raise money so that some of their financial stress could be lifted and they could concentrate on Tyrel. I chose a running event because I’ve learned that runners are great when it comes to pulling together to support one another.
This young man is a fighter and while he can’t be active right now, we can run for him. Runners can sign up from anywhere in the world and run anywhere they wish as long as they complete their run before September 15th. After speaking with many runners, the consensus was to forego finishers’ medals as they felt that the money was better spent going to help the Thomson family.
People have already started completing their runs. I’ve been asking for a little blurb and photo so that Tyrel can follow along. It is neat for him to see where all the runners are from and the photos make him smile. Blue is his favorite colour and his mom says that he gets the biggest of smiles when he sees a runner in a blue shirt.
To join me on my run for Team Tyrel please visit https://www.racemenu.com/events/32121-Team-Tyrel-Virtual-5K-Run-Walk
Follow along on Facebook!
If you, or someone you know, is Running for a Reason, please send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org and we might feature it right here on this blog!