A fighter’s story and Charlie’s Angels

Our son Charlie was born on June 2, 2003. Twelve hours after giving birth Charlie began turning blue. These episodes continued for the next few hours until our local hospital requested the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team (DHART) to come airlift him to the Intensive Care Nursery (ICN) at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD). After arriving at the ICN, the doctors began lots of testing on Charlie to find out exactly what was going on with him. It was quickly determined that Charlie had survived an in utero stroke. We learned that the episodes that Charlie experienced shortly after birth were seizures. Our family is forever grateful for the care we received from CHaD’s ICN and the DHART crew. We credit them for saving Charlie’s life!

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As a result of the in utero stroke that Charlie survived through, he has severe weakness on the left side of his body, developmental delays, as well as epilepsy. Back in June 2003 after Charlie had survived his stroke we really thought the worst was behind us, our little boy survived an in utero stroke.  Little did we know the word epilepsy would become a word we would use daily in our life. Charlie fights seizures on a daily basis. Thankfully, with our CHaD pediatric neurologist and medication we are able to reduce those numbers.

Watching Charlie fight to get through every day of his life for the last 14 years has given me the passion to train for the CHaD HERO half marathon. Charlie will be with me every step of the way, as I will be pushing him 13.1 miles in an adaptive jogger. There are moments throughout training for the half marathon that I just want to give up — running has never been one of my favorite pastimes.   When one of those moments occur, I think about how strong Charlie is and how he’s a Survivor. If he can survive all he has, I can easily survive a half marathon and the training that goes with it. I run for Charlie because he brings out my will to run.

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Charlie’s Dad (my husband) and our daughter (Charlie’s younger sister) will be running the CHaD HERO 5K and they will be at the finish line cheering on Charlie and me as we complete the half marathon. They will be joined by Team Charlie’s Angels, made up of 15 other family and friends who all support the CHaD HERO.

– Kellie Walker, Charlie’s Mom

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Avery, our heroic Super Girl

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Avery Smith

My connection to the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) is as a parent of a cancer patient who gets treatment at the hospital.  This past spring our then three year old daughter Avery, was complaining of muscle aches, back aches, and for a solid week and was running a pretty high fever.  We took her in and after a few visits they weren’t really sure what was going on. After some blood work our pediatrician called us and said Avery had some very concerning numbers. I will never forget the look on my wife’s face that next moment when the Doctor told her that it looks like leukemia and we need to get to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock ER immediately.  A few hours later Avery was admitted to CHaD.

The next day, the cancer team at CHaD confirmed that Avery had B-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.  Needless to say our world was turned upside down and it might be one of the darker days of my life.  Things were so confusing at that moment– I had tears flowing the entire ride up to the hospital. I definitely broke NH state laws by using my cell phone to google what leukemia was, while trying to coordinate coverage for our 8 year old son back home.  But when I walked into CHaD, things weren’t so dark anymore. There were still tears but I immediately felt comforted and confident that Avery was in good hands. In no time, she was set-up to all the right machines and had already had her bone marrow extracted. Things were all a blur, but I am pretty sure she had a spinal tap done as well. I was expecting to walk in and see her in pain and very scared. To our surprise, instead she was perky and laughing. She had toys, movies, stuffed animals, arts and crafts and was calling the nurses by name.  Avery had everything she could ask for and every person who walked into her room made her feel so comfortable. She was not acting like she was in a hospital. It was like she was in the greatest playroom on the planet.

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Things became more real for us when a team of doctors and nurses showed up to Avery’s room carrying her first dose of chemo. Child Life Specialists were on hand to help explain everything to us and comfort us. Nutritionists were there to help us with meal planning. The doctors sat with us to make sure we understood what caring for Avery would look like. In no time at all, we were armed and ready to support Avery in her journey ahead. We learned what the treatment plan was going to look like for the next two and half years. This plan would include weekly visits to the hospital, daily medications, visiting nurses, surgeries, and major limits on her exposure to other people and places.   We knew this was going to be our new normal and we were going to be at CHaD a lot.

Fast forward 4 months into treatment and who knows how many visits to CHaD, Avery loves the hospital. She actually looks forward to going. She loves her nurses and gives her doctors spunky attitude. She plays in the playroom before and after treatments and she doesn’t cry anymore when she gets stuck with a needle. She takes her meds with ease. This is all very much on her for being a tough, sweet kid but it also has a lot to do with CHaD.
Avery at the Hospital

So we are doing the CHaD HERO for Avery and to support her battle with cancer. We are also participating because every child that goes to CHaD for care deserves the very best. We hope our small effort of raising money and participating in the HERO helps every family that has their world flipped upside down and needs the full army of support that CHaD provides.  We also hope Avery’s infectious smile inspires anyone who has to go through a tough battle during their life. Maybe during the CHaD HERO or through this blog, she can be the light for someone in a dark place.  She just picked out her Super Girl costume for the race and we think it’s very appropriate for who she is every day.

– Avery’s Dad, Chris Smith

 

HERO Quest: AT Hikers Fundraise for CHaD

After walking 2,190 miles, 14 states, and countless mountains and valleys, Sean and I have successfully completed the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. It is impossible to concisely summarize an adventure that involved feelings that ranged from the heart soaring to the tearfully nearly defeated. It would take as many days and as many steps to try and explain what the trail is truly like for us. It was nearly six months of experiences and memories that we will always cherish. Therefore, we feel incredibly privileged and lucky to have been able to experience it. Recognizing our own good fortune is part of the reason we wanted to include CHaD in our hike. To be able to do something for others, especially an organization like CHaD, brought meaning and purpose to our hike that would have been lacking otherwise.

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Sean and Hannah on the AT at the boarder of Vermont and New Hampshire.

While hiking we were made incredibly aware of the importance of health. Our bodies dictated what we were able to accomplish on a daily basis. We were demanding a high level of physical exertion daily, and to do that we had to listen to our bodies. For instance, coming into Troutville, Virginia, Sean felt the twinge of an old injury in his ankle tendons. We immediately found a place to stay and let him have time off of his feet in order to let it heal. Taking a small time off would allow us to be able to continue in the long run. Taking care of our health needed to be a priority in order for us to accomplish our goals. So daily, we were reminded of our bodies and our state of health. Therefore, trying to raise money for a charity that was concerned with children’s health was important to us. Children’s health is a foundation that allows others to be able to experience things like the trail, or give them other opportunities to be able to accomplish whatever goal is important to them. We like that CHaD works with families of children who are in for long term care and short term as well. They help children from all over New England be able to have the chance to achieve their dreams. Therefore, it was a privilege working with them while we were achieving a dream of our own.

Additionally, CHaD is very close to Hannah’s heart. She grew up in the Upper Valley in a family that has been in the area for generations. Her grandfather, Dr. Bob Storrs was a pediatrician in Etna and Hanover and knew how important children’s healthcare is. Both her grandfather and his cousin Phoebe Stebbins made a powerful impact on their descendants. She grew up with stories of their kindness, strength and generosity. Their memory still keeps alive the importance of being part of a community and helping institutions like CHaD – who time after time positively affect people’s lives

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Sean and Hannah at the end of their AT journey!

There were days on the trail where we felt very low and questioned the importance of continuing. Don’t worry, these were incredibly rare; most of the time we could stand on top of mountains and feel like anything was possible. Having a reason to walk forward every day, other than ourselves, was an important aspect of the hike for us. Hiking for CHaD added a depth and significance to what we were doing. We were able to have this incredible experience and be able to feel that we were also doing good for others. Both Sean and I feel like it is important to think of others even while thinking about our own goals and aspirations. Therefore, working with CHaD was a way of making our Appalachian Trail hike, which was wonderful, even greater.  It was such a positive experience for us that we hope we can help in the future as well!

Channel your inner AT hiker and take part in the new and improved CHaD HERO hike course.  The new course offers a 5 or 7 mile hike through downtown Hanover leading into Mink Brook Preserve and the River Trail. Click here to register and learn more.

Global Rescue Partners with the CHaD HERO

As the world’s leading provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services, Global Rescue understands the importance of easily accessible medical support. Our mission to provide best- in-class assistance aligns with the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s (CHaD) goal to provide the right care at the right time every time to families across the region. Therefore, it is only natural that Global Rescue be committed to supporting the 2017 CHaD HERO not only as a corporate partner, but also as a participating team in the effort to help CHaD patients and families. Our team at Global Rescue is excited to be involved in such an impactful fundraising event and is eager to actively support an organization that shares a comparable dedication to compassionate medical care.

Since Global Rescue’s foundation in 2004, our organization has partnered exclusively with the Johns Hopkins Emergency Medicine Division of Special Operations and Elite Medical Group to identify, monitor, and respond to client medical and security crises. We have provided medical and security support during every globally significant crisis of the last decade. In addition to serving Fortune 500 companies, governments, and academic institutions, we also support individual travelers and families, such as the Lanzettas, a family whose 3-year -old daughter suddenly began suffering repeated grand mal seizures while on vacation in France. This video tells Cate Lanzetta’s story.

Like the staff at CHaD, our personnel have devoted their lives to saving lives. Our people represent the finest paramedics, doctors, search and rescue specialists and security operators in the industry.  Time and again, we have been asked to perform missions other providers either can’t or won’t.  Each time we have risen to the challenge and successfully completed the mission.  It is the talent, skill and determination of our teams that has been the difference between success and failure.

Global Rescue encourages other organizations to do their part in improving the well-being of others by signing up here and creating a team for the 2017 CHaD HERO. Every contribution positively impacts the lives of the people and communities served by Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth – Hitchcock.

For more information about Global Rescue’s services, call 617-459-4200 or visit our website.

Learn how to sweat for good!

Dear Generation Next,

We see you. We see how much you care. We see how savvy you are. We see your strength.

We also see that sometimes you need a little support to make the huge difference you are making. Positive Tracks was created for you.

How to use our help and support? It’s simple: You can play kickball. You can shoot hoops. You can run the CHaD HERO (one of our personal favorites). If you can dream it, we can help you make it happen for CHaD.

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HOW DOES IT WORK?

You choose your athletic endeavor. Positive Tracks staff and coordinators provide counsel on event planning and logistics, leadership, team building, fitness, and everything you need to sweat for good from start to finish. 

This includes hands on help from a real person and an extensive library of toolkits. We’ll even match your dollars. Every dollar raised goes to CHaD, in addition to Positive Tracks matching dollars. And if fundraising isn’t your thing, no problem, we’ll help you raise awareness or mobilize your friends to volunteer.

Our partnership is free. We don’t take a cut. There is no catch. Period.

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY “SWEAT FOR GOOD”? Option A.) You can register to join the CHaD HERO and work with one of our awesome Positive Tracks Coordinators at CHaD OR Option B.) You can organize your own athletic event for CHaD and we’ll provide individualized support, insurance, digital registration and fundraising pages. – whatever moves you. Then you use that event to educate friends, peers or family about CHaD – and we’ll show you how. Check out our list of Sweat for Good ideas.

Cam Crew at Finish 2016 Credit Dan Grossman Photography

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY “GIVE BACK”? Participate, lead, recruit, mobilize, volunteer, mentor, educate or fundraise. You choose exactly how you want to be involved. We help you get started and we have your back every step of the way. Check out our U23 Challenges Highlights and Success Stories for inspiration.

READY TO GET IN THE GAME? Good. We were counting you in anyway!

If you’d like to join the CHaD HERO, Hilary Hubbard, our Positive Tracks Coordinator at CHaD is here to help. Shoot Hilary an email. She is awesome and she’ll take it from there.

Looking to create your own event for CHaD? See nitty gritty details and apply to be a Captain here. Spoiler alert: We will contact you right away.

In short, Gen Z –

Keep it real, keep it fun, and keep the ball in your court with Positive Tracks.

We’ll talk to you soon.

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Training with RVC for the CHaD HERO

River Valley Club (RVC) is committed to supporting the 2017 CHaD HERO, and we are excited to share some of our team’s top training tips with you. Looking for camaraderie and not on a team yet?  You are welcome to join ours!  RVC is offering fundraising incentives to help Team RVC members prepare for the 2017 CHaD HERO, including a 12 week dedicated group training program designed by RVC Trainer, Tara Ebejer for those who raise $250.  Group training runs the week of July 24 through October 29 and will be held every Tuesday and Thursday at noon. In addition to the free training twice a week, you also receive a free membership with full access to the club during the training period dates. Already on a team? Consider developing your own set of incentives to keep your members motivated and optimize their fundraising efforts.

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Here are some training tips from Tara:

GUIDELINES

  1. Sign up for the CHaD HERO — right now!

Signing up for the race makes it official.  You now have a race date and a training deadline to motivate you. Making it official keeps you accountable to your training schedule and workouts.  Be proud of this first step and share the news with your family and friends – this further helps with the commitment, and your fundraising efforts.

  1. Journal

Keep a running journal noting things you ate, what you wore, weather, how you felt, etc.  This will be helpful for you to look back and see why a run felt not so good or why it felt great.  Note what foods you ate during your run and see what works and didn’t work so well. Journals also help with training for future races – looking back to see if you really trained as hard as you think you did.

Calculate your weekly mileage total to make sure you are following your training schedule and not overtraining. There should be NO big mileage jumps – just a slow steady increase every week and don’t forget to allow for rest days and cut back weeks.

  1. Running Form

Relax during your runs. Don’t worry about your speed; that will come in time.  Running is a natural movement so good running form should feel natural.  Remember the following tips:

Head – is up.   Your chin should be level, not be up, down or forward. Keep your eyes moving and alert. Enjoy the scenery.

Shoulders – keep them low and loose, NOT hunched forward.

Arms – keep your arms moving forward and back; not across the body.

Torso – run tall and do not lean forward unless going up a steep hill.

Legs and Feet – keep your stride short and underneath your pelvis. Do not run with long strides. Efficient runners run 180 steps per minute, regardless of speed.

  1. Mental Preparation

An important part of training for a race is mental preparation. You need to be ready for ‘bad’ days. During training your brain can get ahead of your body which may make some runs feel ‘bad’. Expect to have good and bad days and know that it is OK.

Remember EVERYONE has race anxieties!  Be prepared to face these fears and know that you will overcome them. Common fearful thoughts include:

  • “Everyone is faster then me – I run too slow”
  • “I am going to be the last one to cross the finish line”
  • “What if I fail and cannot complete the race

Putting forth effort and overcoming fear can make accomplishing any task even more worthwhile and gratifying.

  1. Cross-Training

Include cross-training exercises on your run days and/or non-run days.

CORE TRAINING:

Many people think of the core as just their abdominal muscles, however, the core consists of 29 muscles including back muscles, gluteus, and pelvic floor muscles..  Think of the core as LEADER OF THE PACK. All movement begins from the core so a strong core is essential.  Core training also helps to protect the spine during functional activities aiding in injury prevention. A strong core is essential for all runners! Include exercises like the plank, side plank, bridges, and glute strengthening exercises (clams, single leg squats, etc.).

BALANCE TRAINING:

Balance is key to all functional movement such as running, walking, getting dressed, climbing stairs, and playing sports. Our balance becomes altered a) as we age b) with muscle imbalances and c) with injuries. Therefore everyone can benefit from balance training, which also helps to improve joint stability and alignment decreasing the risk of injuries. Exercises include any single leg movements such as single leg squats or single leg reaches.

RESISTANCE TRAINING:

There are so many benefits to resistance training!

  • Improved cardiovascular efficiency – benefits runners
  • Increased bone density
  • Decreased body fat – makes runners FASTER
  • Increased metabolism
  • Increased strength
  • Improved mental state
  • Decreased stress
  • Increased energy & stamina
  • Look and feel better
  • It’s FUN!

STRETCH DAILY – FLEXIBILITY TRAINING

 More than before, flexibility training has become a key component in all training programs. Some benefits to flexibility training are: correction of muscle imbalances, increase in joint range of motion, decrease in muscle tension, relief of joint stress, and maintaining muscle optimal length.   It also feels good!

Types of Flexibility Training:

Self-Myofascial Release/Foam Rolling:

When: before & after exercise

What:   a stretching technique that focuses on both the neural and fascial systems in the body which are fibrous tissues that surround and separate muscle tissue.  Adhesions or knots are created in the fascia with everyday activities and exercise.

How:   use a foam roller and apply gentle force to the knots. The muscle fibers are altered from a bundled position into a straighter alignment with the direction of the muscle or fascia. This helps restore the body back to its optimal length of function. Remember to hold the force onto the knot for 20 seconds, keep relaxed and breathe!

Dynamic Stretching:

When: before exercise as a warm up

What:  stretching of muscles using force production and momentum to move the joints through full range of motion

Examples: tube walking, walking lunges, prisoner squats, high knee walk, inchworm, and spidermans

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Spiderman Stretch
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Inchworm Stretch

Race Day Rules

  1. NEVER WEAR anything NEW on race day. This means NO new shoes, socks, shirts, pants, bras, etc.  Make sure you have worn all of your clothing at least once and that it is comfortable.
  2. NEVER EAT anything DIFFERENT on race day.  On your weekend runs practice eating different things and find what works for you.
  3. Make sure you are well hydrated; increasing fluid intake few days prior to your race. You should be sipping water continuously so that your urine is a clear color. On race day start sipping water as soon as you wake up. No need to chug water — just sip—you don’t want to get bloated.
  4. Be prepared to run in any type of weather.   You never know what to expect in New England.
  5. Mentally prepare yourself, have fun, and enjoy the journey!

 

 

CHaD HERO Magic

B+ is not just Cameron Marshall’s blood type, it has been his, and his family’s, motto. When Cam was diagnosed with leukemia in July of 2008, and found out his blood type, he latched on to it as a mantra for hope in fighting his cancer.  It didn’t take long for the Marshall family to realize they were not alone in this fight and rather than focus inward on their struggle they created the B+ (Be Positive for CHaD Kids) program to give back and help other CHaD families.

Cam knew what it was like for his mom to stay with him at CHaD every day, so he wanted to find a way to help other families feel a little more at home during their stay at CHaD. As a result, the B+ program provides healthy snacks to the CHaD inpatient units and other family support services, including small refrigerators for patient rooms.

In 2008, shortly after his diagnosis, Cam’s community rallied around him and his family at the CHaD HERO. Cam’s Course, a one mile run, was created in honor of Cam’s fight against Leukemia and was a way for Cam’s friends and siblings to make an impact for CHaD kids, no matter their age or ability. That year, Cam was carried over the finish line surrounded by hundreds of family and friends. IT WAS MAGICAL!

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Cam being carried over the Cam’s Course finish line by his principal, Jeff Valance.

Fast forward to 2016 and at the age of 17, Cam finished the CHaD HERO half marathon course, and also celebrated 5 years cancer-free! Check out our Facebook page to watch Cam’s inspirational half marathon finish.

Over the years, thousands of kids and adults have completed Cam’s Course and raised over $250,000!  It has become a way for CHaD HEROES of all ages to give back and support CHaD kids.

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Above: Cam Marshall and Nini Meyer, CHaD HERO Committee Member and Founder of Positive Tracks, are all smiles during 2016 CHaD HERO half marathon.

In addition to being a CHaD and Positive Tracks Ambassador, this year Cam will represent Hanover in the CHaD High School All-Star Football Game on June 30th at St. Anselm College in Manchester, NH.

The B+ for CHaD Kids movement is operated with the expressed permission of The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation (www.BePositive.org).

CHaD Patient Gives Back

Hello CHaD HEROES,

My name is Rylie.  I am 11 years old and participate in the CHaD HERO to give back for all that CHaD has done for me and continues to do for me.

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Me and my team at the 2010 CHaD HERO.

I am a CHaD kid. CHaD has been a part of my life since I was born at Dartmouth- Hitchcock. The kids at CHaD need your help! CHaD is very important to the children in our area and beyond to help us receive the best care without having to travel far away.

Positive Tracks has helped me double my fundraising money to help me fundraise more money for CHaD.

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This is a picture of my mom and me running the 5K at the 2016 CHaD HERO. Wonder Woman is my favorite superhero!

Please help me and all who participate in the CHaD HERO fundraiser raise funds for CHaD and all the wonderful things they do and provide for kids.

Thank you,

Rylie

Registration is OPEN!

Welcome to the CHaD HERO Blog! We’ll keep you informed about all things CHaD HERO and inspire you to leap over even taller buildings to help support CHaD kids.

The 2017 CHaD HERO registration is NOW OPEN! Be sure to register yourself and your team so you can take advantage of reduced registration fees until August 15th.

We have some new and exciting things happening at the CHaD HERO this year!

New for the 2017 CHaD HERO

BIKE: We’re adding a 25 mile bike ride option in addition to the existing 50 mile bike ride. Cyclists will enjoy a picturesque ride through the Upper Connecticut River Valley in near peak foliage season. Learn more here.

HIKE: Discover new trails! Hike either 5 or 8 miles of classic Hanover and Lebanon hiking terrain. The hike will continue to start and finish on the Dartmouth Green. Click here to learn more about the hike.

5K Run & Walk: Some fun family-friendly elements will be incorporated into our 5K course. Stay tuned for more details!

In the coming months we look forward to introducing you to some very special HEROES. We’ll explain their stories and why the CHaD HERO inspires them to bust out their capes.