Running for Callie Anne
Callie Anne Cook was born on November 30th, 2012 with Apert Syndrome. Her skull was permanently fused in utero in 3 places, her fingers and toes are fused, she has a cleft palate, as well as feeding and respiratory problems. Before she was 2 months old, she had her first surgery to put in a feeding tube so she can get the needed nutrition for growth. She will have at least 3 more major surgeries before she is 12 months old. In September, 2013 she will have a cranial vault remodel to reconstruct her skull in order to give her brain adequate room to grow. Her fingers and toes will be surgically separated with a 2 stage surgery which will take place in October and December. All of these major surgeries will be done in Dallas, TX by an internationally renowned craniofacial surgeon who specializes in Apert Syndrome. Callie Anne has a fighting spirit and is the kind of baby girl who captures the heart of everyone she meets! Her parents truly believe she was brought into this world to teach others about acceptance and the true meaning of God's love.
What is Apert Syndrome?
Apert Syndrome is a genetic condition caused by a random chromosomal mutation and is characterized by premature fusion of the skull, retruded mid face, fused fingers and toes, and many other medical issues that may or may not be present such as cleft palate, respiratory problems, and varying degrees of developmental delays. It is estimated that 1 in every 120,000-200,000 babies are born with Apert Syndrome, which averages to about 25 births a year in the U.S. People with Apert Syndrome will have an average of 27 surgeries in their lifetime to correct the abnormalities associated with the condition, most of which take place during childhood.
Well, I did it! I finished my half marathon in a little more than two hours. I got emotional as I cross the finish line. I was overwhelmed by all the tireless hardwork and dedication that went into this accomplishment. Not only for me but for little Callie Anne. Thank you ALL again for your support and your generous hearts. Here is a link to the final TV segment I did following my half marathon.
However there was a different feeling when I started to get my mind right and just run my distance. I not only thought about Callie Anne and how her hands and feet are going to look so beautiful when they are fully healed, but also about a picture her Dad posted of her as a baby in the arms of her Aunt Leslie. There was now not one, but two members of this family that have benefited from constant prayer. It was like seeing God's miracles at work in a simple snapshot. And then I was reminded that neither of these two people are close to the end of a long and painful journey.
Callie Anne's aunt, Leslie, has made national headlines after she was diagnosed with H1N1 and double pneumonia on January, 11th. She was flown to a specialty hospital in St. Louis where she continues to battle the illness to this day. She was 20 weeks pregnant when she was admitted. Sadly, she lost her baby while fighting to save her own life. Her story has been told countless times across the country and is a reminder of how important it is to take care of yourself during this extremely aggressive flu season.
Her husband, Chris, is the brother of Callie Anne's mom. I grew up with these two wonderful human beings. We went to church and school together for years. Both have suffered more in the last few weeks and months than most families. And who would blame them for moments of weakness and questions of, "why me?" I'm not sure why, I don't have any answers. It's in God's hands. But I do know that this family has to be one of the strongest and most courageous families I know.
The flight, procedures, and continuous medical care will be extremely costly for Chris and Leslie. They've set up a donation page which is linked below if you'd like to help. Several of my private sponsors who have donated money for my marathon campaign which I'm running in Callie Anne's honor have asked that their money go to help pay for Leslie's medical expenses after hearing of their connection. Several have even donated more. Though this has affected my target goal for Callie Anne it's significantly helped her Aunt continue to get the medical attention she needs. I'll find a way to get the rest of the donations somehow, some way, I guarantee!
Over the past four months I've ran more than 300 miles in six different cities that were a combined total of more than 1,500 miles from home. I've lost 10 pounds and have gained mental toughness and spiritual strength. And I owe it all to a beautiful little toddler who's taught me more than she will ever know about the importance of making the most out of your life.
My half marathon is set for February, 2nd. If you'd like to sponsor me or make a donation towards Callie Anne, please click on this link!
If you'd like to help Leslie Creekmore and her family, please click on the link below.