For Will Brown, running in the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series is personal. He’s not necessarily going after personal best times, rather he’s running to support Akron Children’s which has helped his family in the most personal way possible – saving his son’s life.
Will’s son, Grayson, was diagnosed with congenital heart defects at birth and spent several weeks in Akron Children’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) as a newborn. He had open heart surgery when he was just 7 days old.
“The surgery went smoothly and Grayson healed quickly but, shortly after being discharged, he became septic and his body began to shut down,” said Will Brown of Olmsted Falls. “Once again we found ourselves at Akron Children’s PICU seeing the same faces that were so happy to let us go home a few days earlier, but were now looking worried and telling us to prepare for the worst.”
The experience was excruciating for the new parents who could only watch and hope others were able to provide their son with the care he needed. The support they received in those early days of Grayson’s life left an impression.
“The doctors and nurses worked tirelessly to save our son’s life and because of them we now have a happy, HEALTHY 4 year old,” said Will. “We could never express how truly thankful we are for the hard work and compassion of every single doctor, surgeon, nurse, respiratory therapist, aid, staff and volunteer at Akron Children’s Hospital.”
Will and his family are trying, though, by taking a personal interest in raising money for the hospital.
“A friend talked me into running the race series this year and when I heard about how I could personally support the hospital that has done so much for my son, my family, I knew I wanted to do it,” Will said.
Will is not only signed up to run in the 3 races that support Akron Children’s Hospital, but he’s personally fundraising for the hospital as a Children’s Champion.
“This is the first time I’ve ever tried to raise money for a charity or an event,” said Will. “I’m actually going into my personal contacts to ask people for their support – not for me but for the hospital…It just feels like the right thing to do.”
Today, Will runs and trains for his upcoming races and Grayson continues to be a high-energy, sweet boy who sees his cardiologist periodically to monitor his heart health. And, on Sept . 29, you’ll find Grayson with his mom and sister standing along the 26.2 mile race route cheering Will on to the finish!