Maryville staff to run first half marathon to benefit Children's Healthcare Center
Inspired by the children, Child Life Specialist Kristen Lawrence is running her first half marathon, the Chicago Spring Half Marathon, in May as a fundraiser to benefit Maryville's Children's Healthcare Center (CHC).
For each mile that she runs, Lawrence is raising money to buy play and sensory items to promote normal and developmental play for the CHC children.
Lawrence works every day with children, ages birth to 21, who face medical and developmental challenges, or who may have technological dependencies. Most of the children are admitted from a hospital neonatal or pediatric intensive care unit and no longer require acute care but need significant medical attention.
"Working at Maryville Children's Healthcare Center combines my two passions," said Lawrence. "I am able to foster growth and development of children with special needs and development disabilities, and at the same time help them process, gain mastery and normalize their medical experiences."
The CHC children need adaptive medical equipment and developmental support to complete tasks that are often seen as simple by the average person. Tasks like walking, standing, running and even breathing.
"When I feel like quitting my half marathon training," said Lawrence, "I think about the children I work with who are working so hard to be able to run like the little boy in his adaptive stander and walker who is learning to use his legs, and the little girl whose fragile lungs and breathing tube in her trachea limits how much energy she is able to exert."
You can help Lawrence reach her fundraising goal of $1,000 by visiting her GoFundMe page at http://bit.ly/2Tf55Gg. You will also learn more about her journey to her first half marathon and her passion for working with the CHC children.