every step counts

November 13, 2011

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.

Click to sign up or donate!

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.

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

kathleen @ the daily crumb November 13, 2011 at 7:14 am

What a great event…I will definitely look into signing up!


cleaneatingchelsey November 13, 2011 at 7:14 am

If you do, let me know!


Heather November 13, 2011 at 7:26 am

“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.”

Perfect. <3 I'll be there cheering in spirit, Chelsey!


Lindsay @ Lindsay's List November 13, 2011 at 7:31 am

Wish I lived closer!!


Savannah @ Sweet and Savvy November 13, 2011 at 7:41 am

What an amazing cause! My thoughts and prayers will be with these two ladies. Wish I could make it for the 5k!


Simply Life November 13, 2011 at 7:49 am

thanks for letting us know about this- I hope only the best for those amazing women and their families!


Lauren @ What Lauren Likes November 13, 2011 at 8:07 am

Amazing post! What a great idea :)


char @ char on a mission November 13, 2011 at 8:13 am

I’m glad you shared this, because honestly you think about the big things that make people sick, but not the unexpected. I hope it’s a huge success next weekend.


Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon November 13, 2011 at 8:26 am

I wish I lived in the area! I’ll keep these girls in my thoughts next Saturday during my run


Amanda @ Let Me Be Whats Underneath November 13, 2011 at 10:08 am

That’s such a great cause–wish I lived close by to participate. I really hope it goes well!!!


Katie @ Peace Love and Oats November 13, 2011 at 11:08 am

already e-mailing my brother to see if I can use their car that morning…


cleaneatingchelsey November 13, 2011 at 11:46 am

Let me know!


Katie @ Peace Love and Oats November 13, 2011 at 1:12 pm

registered! are you going to be there?


cleaneatingchelsey November 13, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Yup – and I’m thinking about doing my other 7 miles beforehand. Come on, I know you want to do it!!!


Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin November 13, 2011 at 11:24 am

You’re doing such an amazing thing for these girls and their families! I wish I lived closer so that I could participate.


Julie H. of Spinach and Sprinkles November 13, 2011 at 11:33 am

Reading this makes me thankful for my body. God is faithful even when it is super hard to see his plan. In my prayer journal both of these girls will go. Thank you for sharing, Chelsey. I wish I lived close so I could run for them!


cleaneatingchelsey November 13, 2011 at 11:46 am

And you are amazing for having such amazing faith throughout all of the struggles you have been going through as of late!! <3 you!


Katie @ Peace Love and Oats November 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Haha I’ll definitely think about it. I was thinking about taking it easy this week after my race, but we’ll see if I’m itching for another long run!


cleaneatingchelsey November 13, 2011 at 5:13 pm

It would be fuuun!


Emily November 13, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Sometimes I truly forget how fortunate I am to be able-bodied. Praying for those girls. Wish I lived closer!


peacebeme November 13, 2011 at 1:53 pm

I have a neurological disorder myself but it is not nearly as severe as the ones these girls have experienced. God bless them and I am praying for their recoveries!


Lizzy November 13, 2011 at 3:03 pm

aww LOVE this!! wish I could sign up! will donate! xoxo!


Jess@atasteofconfidence November 13, 2011 at 5:03 pm

My heart goes out to them, and it’s great you are helping them by writing about this.


Emily November 13, 2011 at 8:28 pm

I can’t even imagine having to deal with something like that during high school. Those are two very strong girls. That is wonderful that your community is coming together for them- I hope the turnout is amazing!


Linz November 13, 2011 at 8:53 pm


Thank you for posting this. I donated to the cause. My husband suffered a massive stroke when he was 21 years old. Ultimately, he was left with partial paralysis to his left side. The road to recovery was, indeed, a long one, but now he is doing so well and inspiring others every day of his life. I wish the girls best of luck in their recovery and want to remind them to stay strong. Also, I want to tell people to DONATE! If you don’t have a lot of money, then don’t donate at all. But donate something. Just as the name states… every little bit counts!!!


Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile November 13, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Wow. It really is easy to take your health for granted and we all need to remember to always be faithful and count our blessings. I wish I could run it! My prayers will be with those girls and their families.


Linda November 13, 2011 at 9:48 pm

Hi, Chels!
Thanks for sharing the 5K with all your CEC friends!
Thanks, CEC friends, for your encouragement and support!
Katie and Courtney ARE amazing girls and so is the community that is surrounding them with their love, encouragment and prayers…you are part of that community. Thank You!


cleaneatingchelsey November 14, 2011 at 5:50 am

You are more than welcome! Glad to be a part of everything – see you on Saturday!


Sophie @ threetimesf November 14, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Such sad, but inspiring, stories. What a great event – I hope it goes really well! :)


Lo November 17, 2011 at 11:33 pm

I wish I could go! I have yoga training on Saturdays, but I wish you and all the runners luck! Hopefully lots of money is raised for these girls :)



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