Jeff Young took on the Blue Line for the first time last September and remembers passing through the Akron Children’s Hospital Hero Zones throughout the course. At the time he had no idea that the connection between the Akron Marathon and Akron Children’s Hospital was about to become even more poignant for him.
Before race day, Jeff and his wife had taken their 6-month-old son Jordan to the Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics office in Wadsworth. Jordan had been jerking his head back in what looked to be involuntary episodes, so they sent a video to their pediatrician who wanted to see Jordan right away.
“They were unsure if it was something or nothing, but it was definitely out of the ordinary so they recommended we see a neurologist,” Jeff said.
A few days after Jeff participated in the half marathon at the Akron Marathon, Half Marathon & Team Relay presented by FirstEnergy, he and his wife took Jordan to his neurology appointment at Akron Children’s.
“Jordan had one of his episodes right in front of the neurologist, so they wanted to admit him immediately to monitor him and his brain activity for 24 hours,” Jeff said.
“It was very scary, but luckily for us it ended up being nothing. And it’s already gone away, there’s no abnormal brain activity.”
Jeff said when his family received the bill for Jordan’s care he thought a lot about how lucky he was to have a good insurance plan. He couldn’t imagine what it would be like for a family that didn’t have insurance. That was when he decided to put his professional fundraising skills to use and raise money for less fortunate families as a Children’s Champion.
“It should never be that a parent has to make a decision about the care their child gets based on what they can afford,” he said. “I decided that this could be a way for me to bring together two things I’m passionate about – running and fundraising.”
Jeff met his original goal of raising $1,000 for Akron Children’s while he trains for September’s race, and has raised his goal to $1,500. He’s hopeful that other runners will join him in supporting the hospital because, he says, while he knows it can be hard to ask people for money, he also knows that people in the area know the value of Akron Children’s.
“I’m just so thankful for having great doctors in the Akron Children’s network all around. It’s not just about the life and death things, it’s about the good care for a cold or the flu or a check-up, too,” Jeff said. “And it’s not just the doctors providing great care, it’s the nurses and the staff – it’s everyone there who treats the kids like they’re their own.”
You can click here to support Jeff in his fundraising, and if you’re also running the Blue Line this September and would like more information on the Children’s Champion program, you can reach out to Nicci Avalon at email@example.com