Never give up. It’s not just a phrase I adopted a few years ago. It’s actually a translation of the words that appear on my family crest. And it’s a motto that has guided me since my wife and I learned their daughter would be born with health complications.
When Harper was born, doctors told us they weren’t sure if she would make it due to multiple congenital heart defects. But my wife, the doctors and I would not give up that easily. At only seven-weeks-old, Harper received life-saving open heart surgery at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
and was placed into a medically induced coma for one week so her body could properly heal. Thanks to the expert team of doctors, nurses and medical professionals at the Heart Institute
, our little girl is now happy and thriving.
It’s hard to believe that was more than six years ago! And you would never guess Harper was once told she may never be able to run or play sports. She currently participates in cheerleading and dance classes, including ballet; she also enjoys exercising with me almost every day. If we’re not doing yoga in the morning, we may visit the local YMCA at night to run a few laps!
Harper can’t wait to toe the start line of her first official race on May 4, 2019 and show off her Chick-fil-A Pittsburgh Kids Marathon medal afterwards. She says she is running for other kids because she can and because I’m running for that same reason for the second year in a row.
Though I had never run more than three miles at one time, I was compelled to participate in the Run for a Reason Charity Program presented by Bank of America when I learned the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation
was an official charity. We had led the Hutchinson Heart Hero team for the Walk for Children’s for years, but I felt ready to tackle a new challenge that allowed me a new opportunity to give back to the place that gave us the greatest gift of all - our daughter, Harper.
I was ecstatic to not only complete my first ever half marathon in 2018 but also raise more than $1,800 for the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation. Even better, I inspired my brother-in-law and brother to register as charity runners and raise money in support of the American Heart Association
and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
, respectively. Like me, my brother-in-law is running for a reason once again this year, and I’ve also recruited some co-workers to join us to MOVE for a greater good.
None of us will ever give up raising awareness of causes that are meaningful to us. The doctors never gave up on my little girl, so I will keep running and supporting the Heart Institute at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in any way I can. Every step I run during the 2019 DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events will be in gratitude that we get to cherish Harper - our stubborn, smart, sassy and strong Harper - every single day.
Click here to support Chris and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation team of charity runners. Click here or view this runner experience video for more information about the Run for a Reason Charity Program presented by Bank of America.