Finish line of the Niagara Falls Half Marathon
That's a question be both get often. Sometimes earnestly, sometimes facetiously, but very difficult to answer. We both love it, it provides an outlet for stress, a way to stay healthy, a way to model healthy living for our children, friends, and families, and in all honesty, an excuse for eating a few extra treats.
In the last few months, it's primary purpose has been to serve as a distraction for a very difficult trial our family has been through. It has been a place to put our anxiety, a time to process our thoughts, a place to pray, and a place to cry.
Not long after his birth, Cooper (our second son) was diagnosed with a VSD or Ventricular Septal Defect (Learn more here). It is essentially a hole in the septum in his heart that separates his left and right ventricles. For the first two years of his life it was a wait and see approach. It was monitored by a Paediatric Cardiologist and we were told by various sources it would close on it's own. Two weeks after his second birthday Cooper went for another check up. It was here that we were informed, much to our shock, that there had been complications that had arisen from the VSD and he would require surgery to repair the VSD, and the resulting complications. At this point we were unsure whether or not it would be open heart surgery, a possibility that we dreaded. He was referred to The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto where we took him for a sedated echo (an ultrasound of his heart under sedation, where we learned that Cooper is a mean drunk!), and were informed that he would indeed require open heart surgery. We were terrified. But through multiple trips to Sick Kids we couldn't help but recognize what a special place that hospital is. Everyone that Cooper saw from his first appointment right through to his post-op follow up treated us (and most importantly Cooper) in a way that made this very difficult time bearable. The Nurses, Radiology Techs, Clerks, Doctors, and other people we came across we nothing short of angels in our eyes, their care was extraordinary.
Cooper's 2nd Birthday
This brings us to why we wanted to start this blog. From our first days at Sicks Kids, we began to realize the importance of the Sick Kids Foundation and the need for funds to help keep Sick Kids a special place. So we began to think of ways we could give back. What could we do that would inspire others to give to Sick Kids so that parents and children could continue to receive the amazing care that we did?
As Cooper napped the afternoon before his surgery, I (Lexie), sat on the couch in a state of anxiety and panic. I desperately needed a place to direct my thoughts, so I turned to Google. What did I search for? "Runs benefiting Sick Kids Hospital." Because when I don't know what else to do, when I don't have the ability to fix something, when I am stressed and afraid, I run. I knew that we could run to give back. It was then that I came across This. A 100km relay who's proceeds support the Sears Cancer Clinic at The Hospital For Sick Children. I floated the idea with Leigh, thinking we might run it with the 7 person team we ran the Great Muskoka Relay (100km) with in September 2012. I was floored when he came back with the idea of running it as a two person team!
That's when we decided what we needed and wanted to do to give back. We are challenging ourselves in a way we could never have imagined. We will each run 50km on September 21st to complete the 100km race between the two of us.
Our official goal is to raise $500 each (a total of $1000) through fundraising efforts. But in reality we hope to do much more.
We named our team Cooper's Troopers in honour of our brave little boy who is an inspiration to us.
Please bookmark this blog if you want to follow along on our journey and learn more about our running, family, and the great things that happen at Sick Kids.
If you would like to sponsor us on our run you can visit this page: