One year ago I ran my first half marathon at Dallas White Rock. On December 5th, I will run my first full marathon at Dallas White Rock. Choosing this race was not arbitrary... I choose this race very deliberately.
In mid-2009, a friend threw out the idea of running a half marathon. I had been running, but nothing spectacular. My running workout usually consisted of 40-80 minutes on the treadmill alternating between running and walking (rarely running more than 1 mile before walking for a few minutes). She mentioned signing up for White Rock half marathon, and I kind of blew it off. I decided to check into that evening, though, and saw that 100% of the proceeds go to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children... I was sold. I signed up that day for my first half marathon.
My youngest child, Paige, was born in April 2008. I remember the first words out of my mouth when I saw her... "What's wrong with her foot?" Everyone assured me that she was fine and it was just from how she was in the womb, but I knew something was wrong. Sure enough, the next day the pediatrician came in to talk to me about Paige's foot. She had what is commonly known as club foot on her left side.
As you can see, her left foot is turned completely inward and the top of her foot is facing downward. It was consider a medium to severe case. Her foot was very rigid, and you could hardly flex it.
We were sent to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC). How blessed are we to live within 15 miles of one of the world leaders in club foot research and treatment? I cannot possibly put it into a blog post how I feel about this hospital, but suffice it to say that they hold a very large part of my heart, and I will forever feel indebted to them.
TSRHC offers two treatments for Club Foot. The first is the most common method, Ponsetti, which involves serial casting (all the way up to the hip) for about 2 months followed by wearing a brace that bars your feet together until you are 3 years old. The second is called French Functional Therapy. It involves massage therapy, and then taping the foot into a flexed position and putting it in an open splint (that goes just below the knee). I believe there are only 2 hospitals in the world (TSRHC and one in Canada) that offer the therapy because of the expense... it involves daily trips to the hospital until the parent is trained to do the massage therapy and taping on their own.
We chose to do the therapy for the simple reason that it would be more comfortable for Paige, despite the potential inconvenience to us. For the first month, I drove to the hospital 5 days a week in rush hour traffic with all 3 of my kids to downtown Dallas to take Paige to therapy. I could go into excruciating detail, but it comes down to the fact that in 5 weeks of massage therapy (that I did around 8 times a day), Paige's foot was moved into a completely correct position with acceptable flexibility (you can see the difference in the photo to the left... top was taken 4/24/08, bottom was taken 6/23/08). Because of the high rate of recurrence though, the massage therapy and taping continued until Paige's first birthday. Once she was able to walk, the motion of walking and squating and just general playing was it's own form of therapy. (Photo below is Paige at her 1 year appointment where she was released from the therapy and moved to just nighttime splints until the age of 2.)
Now, at age 2 1/2, Paige cannot stop running away!!! She is an amazing child. She runs on my treadmill multiple times a week - not very far and not very fast, but she begs to run. She wants to be like mommy.
If you saw her little feet... you'd never know that she had anything wrong with her. (I can definitely tell, but I know what to look for!!!)
She is the reason I accepted the challenge to run that first half-marathon. They (TSRHC) gave her the ability to run, so I will run for them every chance I get. Did I mention that TSRHC never charges a dime for their services?
I ended up running that first half-marathon alone since my friend backed out. But I raised $1000 for TSRHC. I made a promise to myself then that once a year, for as long as I am able, I would fundraise to support the hospital that allowed my little girl to run.
When another friend proposed we run a full marathon this year, there was no doubt which marathon it would be. Without question, it would be the Dallas White Rock Marathon. And again, I will fundraise to support the amazing hospital that gave me so much.
I have run 11 other races this year with 3 more still to go (6 of them half-marathons), but this is the race that is most important to me... not because it will be my first marathon, although that's pretty remarkable by itself, but because I get the honor of running to support Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.
One month from today, on December 5th, I will run Dallas White Rock Marathon. Please consider donating to TSRHC
... even $5 can add up. I know the amazing work done at that hospital and now have several friends who have children who are patients. The research they do is shared around the world.
If you'd like to donate to my fund for Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, please go HERE. Any amount is greatly appreciated.