So.. I have a running buddy. I know, I know… lots of people have a running buddy. It’s no big deal. Buy MY running buddy IS a big deal. You see, she is an Unsung Hero. And the thing is.. she is not even old enough to realize that she is a Hero. Her brother Noah has a rare medical condition. In fact it is so rare that the doctors do not know what the overall diagnosis is. He is literally like a newborn in a three year old’s body. He is non verbal and can not bear weight. He has epilepsy and neutropenia. Germs must be avoided as he does not have enough white blood cells to fight infection. He is on a ketogenic diet and has GCSF injections twice weekly. And he has a little sister. And this is her Normal.
I connected with this family through the IRun4Michael organization. You can find more info here. http://www.whoirun4.com. IR4 was founded by a man named Tim Boyle, who was inspired by a close friend who was battling bilateral hip dysplasia. After hearing that Tim was planning to head out for a run, his friend said, “You can run for me anytime!” And with that, a movement was started. Tim began dedicating every mile to his friend, Michael, who would never be able to do what Tim was doing. Soon Tim and some close friends started putting miles in for people they knew who would never be able to be active despite the desire to do so. The group grew…and grew… the IR4 family now numbers in the thousands of runners.
When asked why I run I have always replied ” I run because I can, because so many people can’t.” So when I heard about this organization it really struck a chord with me. Then I learned of the IR4-Unsung Hero Siblings program and I knew that this is what I wanted to do. These Unsung Heroes do more than just be a sibling. They become caretakers, protectors, helpers, advocates, and so much more. Many times their lives are put on hold or are uprooted, causing them to grow up to fast. IR4-Siblings was created to honor these amazing heroes.
Fast forward a few days and I have been matched with Abigail. Her parents were relieved when she was born healthy and are trying to create a normal childhood for her. She is too young to realize that her Normal is not like anyone else’s Normal. I dedicate my miles to this little girl who loves music and who loves to dance. I run for this clever child with a big personality. I push myself to higher challenges for this beautiful princess who does not even know that her daily life is a roller coaster. I am honored to be her Runner. And I wish I could do more.