When I was in high school, I was a little bit goofy. Okay, let me take that back — I was incredibly goofy. I was part of my high school’s swim team, and while I still think the chlorine went to my brain within the first week of high school, I had fun. I had fun with my teammates, could tell you hours upon hours of hilarious stories, and love to reminisce with old friends about what a blast high school was. More than that, though, was my health — I was healthy. I never had to deal with any sort of life threatening illness, as no teenager should have to deal with.
Unfortunately in the last year, two teenaged girls in my area have had to deal with quite serious illnesses and are still recovering as a result. My good friend Courtney is a leader for their church youth group, part of the Husband’s family is related to one of the girls, and we have numerous family members who go to their church. Needless to say, I had to share.
Courtney, a 14 year old freshman, suffered from a virus that attacked her muscular-skeletal system this past spring. This debilitating disease took over Courtney’s body and began to destroy her muscle fibers. Courtney was hospitalized and has undergone months of physical and occupational therapy to help her pain and weakness in her legs. Courtney is now using a walker and a wheelchair to help her remain mobile as she continues to retrain her muscles.
Katie, a 17 year old senior, was on a mission trip this past summer to Casa on the Rock in Guatemala to work at an orphanage for abandoned and abused children. On the way home from this selfless trip, Katie began experience numbness in her arms, and within three hours, Katie was paralyzed from the neck down. Katie was diagnosed with a spinal stroke and spent a few weeks in a hospital in Miami before being transferred by a medical jet home to Chicago. Katie’s recovery is going to be long and hard, but her family is hopeful — Katie now has some movement in her right arm, hands, and fingers.
After watching these two girls’ lives flip upside down, a 5k in their honor will be taking place this upcoming saturday — Every Step Counts.
Katie and Courtney’s church has geared up for their benefit, and will be hosting a 5k in their honor this upcoming Saturday. I know many of you live in the area, so if you are able to run the 5k, I urge you to sign up to help these two girls as they are recovering from such unexpected illnesses.
When: Saturday, November 19 @ 9:00 AM
Registration: online or day of race from 7:30-8:45 AM
Location: Southwest Christian School — Tinley Park Campus (17171 S. 84th Avenue Tinley Park, IL 60477)
Fee: $25, includes an Every Step Counts race shirt
You can register or donate for this 5K here which will benefit the Van Ryn’s and the Vree’s to help offset the medical expenses they have accumulated over the course of the past year.
Being healthy is something a lot of us take for granted each and every day — but today, I am thankful for my body being able to carry me through life and for living in a community who supports those who are hurting.