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Celebrating Jacob’s 15th Birthday

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You might remember my experience as a charity runner last year.

I ran my 3rd Glass Slipper Challenge at Walt Disney World. It wasn’t the best race for me as I was coming off a week of the flu.

But it was the most meaningful race as I ran in memory of my oldest son, Jacob, as a Miracle Maker with Children’s Miracle Network.

Jake 2

Jacob was born with a severe heart defect that required surgery at 3 days old. Think about that: heart surgery on this wee baby who was only a few hours old. Talk about baptism by fire into motherhood.

9 months later he underwent a heart transplant and spent about 4 months in and around Vandy as they found the right level of medications to stabilize his new heart.

All this incredible care occurred at Vanderbilt Children’s Hosptial, which is part of the Children’s Miracle Network.



We took Jacob back to Vandy when he was diagnosed with cancer, knowing that he’d receive the best possible care there. It was our hospital home and it was fitting that we returned there when things were the most critical.

Jacob didn’t leave Vanderbilt that last time. But we still knew it was the only place he should be if this was going to be the outcome.

Despite all the stress and awfulness that we went through, I pink puffy heart Vandy. They were the right place for our family in our deepest times of need.

I always wanted to give back to them in some small way for all the love and care they gave to us. That’s why I’ve decided to fundraise again for in Jake’s name.

I’m running the 10K at the Princess Half Marathon weekend in Jacob’s memory.

Princess Julie

The number one takeaway I heard from everyone: find a charity you believe in and have a true connection to. That will be the group you can most honorably & passionately represent.

I found that in CMN.

  • They raise funds and awareness for 170 children’s hospitals in North America.
  • 1 in 10 kids in North America is treated by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals each year.
  • And 62 children enter a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital for treatment every minute.

While all of that is impressive, I had a personal reason for choosing CMN:  my Jacob.


Jake and Luke swings

This fall marks 11 years since we lost Jacob to cancer and left Vanderbilt without him.

11 years. That’s a really long time to go without a member of your family.

Watching Luke grow up without his Irish twin brother is hard. It’s hard to believe Claire is now 11-years-old and was just a baby when Jacob passed away. Hard to remember that Seth never met his older brother. And it’s hard to believe that Lucy is older than Jacob ever was.

My oldest is now my forever youngest.

Life: it goes on, doesn’t it? Even when it’s, well, hard.

How can you be involved?  Here are 3 ways.

  • Donate.  All funds are appreciated and welcome! Here’s the link to my personal fundraising page. Today is Jacob’s 15th birthday. He should be excited about picking up a learners permit and maybe a bit worried about his sophomore year in high school. That’s obviously not happening. Instead, I’m celebrating him by asking you to consider donating $15 in his honor. It would mean a lot to me and to other families experiencing health crises of their own.

but wait

  • Share.  If you can’t donate, I totally get it. But I’d LOVE a social media share to get the word out. Use one of those cute little Share-a-holic buttons at the top or bottom my the post. You ROCK.
  • Join.  The Miracle Makers hope to have 500 participants at the runDisney Princess Half Marathon this year. YOU could be one of them! Entries are available for ALL races at this time (FYI- the 10K is the most limited race right now- everyone loves that distance!).  Check out the website and consider signing up HERE.

Thanks, once again, for being a great support system.

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Judy @ Chocolaterunsjudy

Thursday 18th of August 2016

Aw, my heart goes out to you, Patty. I had a brother I never knew, who died from cancer before I was born. And my husband also had a congenital heart defect, and had open heart surgery when he was about 10 -- not 3 days old!

I can't even imagine what you went through. Big hugs & thinking of you.


Thursday 18th of August 2016

Thank you, Judy!