This past week I’ve had some great training workouts. I had an awesome swim, some good runs, and even ran a (freezing cold!) 10 K race Saturday morning to benefit the local SPCA. I finally feel like I’m rocking and rolling.
But enough about that. My really, really exciting news is that I am announcing my fundraising cause for my Ironman 70.3 in April. I had been mulling over the idea of using my Ironman race as an opportunity to fund raise ever since I signed up for the race, however I was having a hard time settling on a cause. I knew I wanted to do something with pediatric medicine, but I couldn’t figure out how to narrow it down from there.
Then it happened. It was too perfect. My fundraising goal fell into my lap and it is awesome!
Here is the back story: Two of my good friends, Darrell and Jenn, have the most amazing 6-year old boy, Ethan, who was born prematurely and diagnosed with a form of Cerebral Palsy called Spastic Diplegia shortly after birth. Spastic Diplegia affects the way Ethan’s brain communicates with his muscles, especially in his legs, and causes tightening and weakness that makes walking, standing, and general balance very, very difficult. Ethan falls often and gets tired very easily, which is a huge hindrance for a kid that loves to run, play drums, reenact various World World II battles with his friends, and generally woo the ladies where ever he goes. Ethan has been receiving painful Botox injections in his legs for many years now, which have helped to reduce the contraction in his leg muscles, but as he grows older they are proving to be less and less effective. As the spasticity in his legs increases as he grows, it could result in calf lengthening surgeries or use of a walker.
So where does the fundraising come in? Well, there is this bad ass surgery (and yes, “bad ass” is the technical medical term for this procedure) called Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy (SDR). Dr. T.S. Park at St. Louis Children’s hospital has determined that Ethan is an excellent candidate for this surgery that treats the muscle spasticity caused by Cerebral Palsy. The surgery is intense and the recovery is a long. The surgery itself involves accessing Ethan’s spinal cord and cutting or partially cutting nerves that are causing the spasticity in his leg muscles. After surgery, Ethan will have to do physical therapy five days a week for 6 months to help him re-learn to walk, regain his strength and balance, and start to perform all of the running, jumping, and generally rambunctious actions that were too difficult for his muscle to do before.
Darrell and Jenn are raising money to help pay for the expenses of this life changing surgery for Ethan, and let’s face it- neurosurgery isn’t cheap! My goal is to raise $2000 towards the expenses of Ethan’s surgery so that I can see my little buddy grow up to do all of the awesome things he should be doing as a kid, without his body holding him back. Ethan has been a great motivator for me during my training and has helped bring a purpose to my quest of swimming, biking, and running 70.3 miles on race day. Right now, Ethan would never be able to complete in a race like the Ironman, but this surgery would allow him the opportunity to do so in future.
If you would like to sponsor me for the Half Ironman 70.3 in April and help me raise money for Ethan, please head over to Darrell and Jenn’s fundraising page to donate and read more about Ethan’s story. Please put “Ironman” in the message portion of the donation, so I can keep track of my sponsorship (and give you a “thank you” shout out later on!!). I will post fundraising updates every week with my training updates and, most importantly, thanks for helping change the life of a sweet little boy.