This story is about community. Two moms. One little boy who survived a stroke. And helping pediatric stroke survivors worldwide.
Susan Dodge will run in the 2013 NYC Marathon on Sunday, November 4th, and parents of pediatric stroke survivors from around the world will cheer her on – some in person and many in their hearts.
In May of 2011 I gave birth to my second child , Samantha. After gaining 50 pounds I knew that I need to do something to lose it. I had a 20 month old, a newborn and not a lot of free time, so I got creative. I got a stroller and started running. After a few months of running I decided to do some organized runs to qualify for the New York city Marathon. By December, I was qualified and excepted to run the marathon. Now the real work began. Running became my daily mediation and my healing to much of life; however, I still had this feeling that I was running the marathon without purpose. I had lost the weight and felt great, but I knew something was missing.
I received an email from Crowdrise about fundraising for the marathon. I decided I needed an organization to raise money for. I posed the question to my local list serve of parents and asked about a local charity. I received an email from Jamie West. Her daughter and my son attended the same playgroup. Jamie asked me to run for the Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association (CHASA), a nonprofit organization that helps children who’ve survived a stroke and other children who have hemiplegic cerebral palsy. I knew that Jamie had some complications with her birth of her second child but I did not know exactly what. She suggested it to me and that evening I went to the CHASA website.
I was truly amazed. I realized that if these kids can handle these challenges of paralysis, seizures, learning problems, and more, and survive , I can overcome my challenge of running a 26.2 mile marathon. When I have my hardest days of training, I think about these kids that must learn and relearn common tasks. How difficult it must be to overcome those challenges. It helps me through my training and inspires me to drive forward. I am excited to raise money for this amazing organization and know that my work will help these amazing children.
On September 5, 2011, our son Adrian was born. It was a joyous day. On September 6, 2011, we were told that he had a stroke at or around the time of his birth. We were in shock – we never knew that such a thing was possible. We didn’t know what it meant for our son. We didn’t know anything and we were very scared. He was in the NICU for two weeks and none of the other families were going through the same thing. The doctors didn’t and couldn’t tell us much. After countless tests, they couldn’t even tell us why this had happened. About a month later, I found out about CHASA and joined the wonderful support group of families who knew exactly what we were going through. I have gotten so much information, help and encouragement from our new family at CHASA this past year. I can turn to CHASA with any worry – big or small. And I can share with the CHASA families every miraculous achievement – big or small.
At 14 months old, Adrian has had many great achievements. He crawls and cruises, he understands everything we say, he has a fantastic sense of humor and loves getting into trouble. Adrian doesn’t let the fact that he has therapy almost every day and a right hand that doesn’t do what he wants it to do get in the way of having a good time.
We live in a great neighborhood in Washington Heights – in the northern part of NYC. Susie Dodge is a wonderful member of our community. She is so open, optimistic and endlessly energetic and we are lucky to raise our children alongside hers. Our daughter attends a dance class Susie teaches and hopefully Adrian will join when he gets a little older. When Susie said she would be running the NYC Marathon and wanted to raise money for a good cause, I told her about CHASA. I thought it would be a great way to raise awareness about pediatric stroke and also help an organization that has helped my family so much. 1 in 2800 babies will have a stroke, and that is no small number. Why is it that nobody has ever heard of such a thing? We hope that the more people know about pediatric stroke, the more research will be done to help prevent it from happening as often and help the outcome of our amazing survivors. And we are so excited to cheer Susie on as she runs for our kids.
Cheer for Susie!
Help Susie reach her goals and help little stroke survivors by donating here.
You can follow Susie at Track My Runner using her bib number 55614.
There is only one race but different waves of when people start running. Susie is in the last wave, Wave 4 that leaves at 10:55am. It should take her 4 hours and 10 mins to run it.
CHASA – Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association
The Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association (CHASA) exists to help children – children who have survived an early brain injury that results in hemiplegia or hemiparesis (weakness on one side of the body). We could tell you about all the difficulties and challenges faced by our survivors – paralysis, epilepsy (seizures), issues with learning, vision, balance, emotions and behavior – but those challenges don’t really define these kids. They are fun-loving, amazing children, teens, and adults who just want to be like everyone else and enjoy life and feel successful. They experience daily struggles and find ways to adapt. CHASA exists to help these children become happy, successful, independent adults and along we way, we also help their parents, siblings, and sometimes a few grandparents. CHASA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and was founded in 1996.