Children's Champions Stories :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Meet Our Children’s Champions

Just like every patient has a story, we know that every runner, walker and fundraiser has their own motivation. We wanted to know why our Children’s Champions chose to go above running or walking a marathon or half, and decided to fundraise for Nationwide Children’s, so we asked – “what moves you?”. We hope you enjoy their stories! Become a Children’s Champion now!

Meet Sarah

Children’s Champion – Sarah's Story

I'm Sarah Seither and I live in Columbus Ohio. This is my first year running the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus ½ Marathon. I decided to become a Children's Champion because I wanted to touch the lives of families the way my mother used to do. My mom was a NICU nurse in Dayton and Springfield. She spent countless hours taking care of babies and her own 5 children and did not always have time to take care of herself. Mom died of congestive heart failure at the age of 48. June will be 10 years since she passed away and I wanted to do something really positive in her memory, so I decided to fundraise for the kids. I'm really looking forward to the ½ marathon and seeing all those great kids along the course!

Children’s Champion – Brandey's Story

Meet Brandey

I am thankful every day that my children, my husband, and I wake up healthy. I know many families are not so lucky. Working for Nationwide Children's for the past eight years, I've seen many families with sick or injured children and I can't imagine the pain and struggle they go through. I'm proud to work for Nationwide Children's Hospital. I love being a part of an organization that does so much for so many. I am amazed by the things our talented and caring physicians, nurses, and staff do for our patients and families every day. I am happy to play a small part in this as a Children's Champion. I may not be able to perform surgery or cure diseases, but I CAN run 13 miles and I CAN raise money to help our patients!

Children’s Champion – Lyndsay and Chris Monacelli's Story

Meet Lyndsay and Chris

This year, I set a personal goal to run a half marathon. My husband has run 15. One morning, I woke up for my short run and complained and whined about having to do it. “I am so tired of running. My legs hurt. It’s too early,” and so on. But I went out anyway. That afternoon, I received an email from Nationwide Children’s Hospital highlighting the Children’s Champions for the race. I had a few minutes to spare while shoveling in my lunch, so I clicked on the link. During the next 30 minutes, I found myself fighting back tears while reading the stories of these amazing kids and their supportive and loving families.

Some of the stories hit close to home. When my youngest son was born, the doctor told us there was a chance he had a rare genetic disorder called Noonan syndrome. We spent the first 6 weeks of our son’s life getting blood draws, seeing a geneticist as well as a cardiologist, getting echocardiograms and electrocardiograms, etc. Finally, we heard the words we had been praying for: "We have your results. Your son is perfect and has been officially discharged."

As a parent, I have spent many hours at Nationwide Children’s, but nothing that compares to what some of these families have gone through. I now have more of a reason to run besides personal achievement. My husband and I decided to become Children’s Champions to show our support for the children, parents and families who are not as fortunate as our family has been. In my mind, they are the true champions.

Children’s Champion – Mabel's Story

Meet Mabel

As a senior at The Ohio State University, I have participated in BuckeyeThon for the past three years, a 24-hour dance marathon to celebrate the patients and their families at Nationwide Children's Hospital. BuckeyeThon 2015 will be my fourth and final year and I couldn't be more excited.

BuckeyeThon was a big driving force in my decision to run the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus ½ Marathon in 2013. As someone who never ran more than 3 miles at a time, this was a huge challenge that really paid off. It felt amazing to run through the miracle patient miles and see familiar faces from dancing at BuckeyeThon.

This year, I registered for my first FULL marathon as a Children's Champion. I pledged to raise more for Nationwide Children's Hospital than I have for the past three years. Whether it's a dance marathon or a running marathon, I move for those who can't, for team BuckeyeThon, for the children at Nationwide Children's, for Ohio State, and for all who have shaped my college experience for the past four years!

Children’s Champion – Becky's Story

Meet Becky

I will be participating in the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon as a Children's Champion for my nephew, Gunner. Gunner has Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). It is the number one genetic killer for children under the age of two. There is no current cure for SMA, and more research is needed to help cure this disease. I'm participating in order to raise funds, as well as awareness, for Gunner, and all other children affected by this disease. Gunner and the other SMA warriors are counting on us!!

Children’s Champion – Ashley's Story

Meet Ashley

I have wanted to do a half-marathon since 2012, but never put my heart into running and actually pushing myself to train for one. When I found out that I would be moving to Columbus in February and working at Nationwide Children's, I knew that this had to be my first half-marathon. I chose to raise funds and awareness for the hospital because I truly believe that every child should have the chance to grow into a healthy adult, and Nationwide Children's Hospital provides the care that can help them do just that. I'm so excited to be a Children's Champion for my very first half-marathon, and I cannot wait to be part of this great cause for the full marathon in 2015!!

Children’s Champion – Kayleigh's Story

Meet Kayleigh

I ran Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus ½ Marathon last year for the first time. It was only my second half-marathon after the Capital City in May, and I was all about completing the race and hopefully PRing (personal record). I've never been part of a marathon that's been more about the cause than the actual event. The children's faces, stories, families and supporters were everywhere! It was so inspiring! The streets were lined with encouraging spectators, inspiring (and hilarious!) signs, and so much love. I found myself kind of jealous of the Children's Champions in their orange shirts and thought about how happy they must have felt knowing they had a part in helping such an amazing cause.

I know a lot of people who have been touched by Nationwide Children's Hospital. I wanted this year's race to be about more than just me, so I set a new goal for myself: to raise as much as I was able to in honor of last year’s and this year’s races, all the Patient Champions of Nationwide Children's Hospital, and also in memory of all the angels who left this life way too soon. Thanks for giving me this opportunity to do even a small part in helping the families and caregivers treat and care for these children in what I pray are only the beginnings of long, healthy, successful, and happy lives!

Children’s Champion – Jeff's Story

Meet Jeff

I'm 56 year’s old and a school administrator on the verge of retiring and becoming a grandpa! My journey officially started June, 2013. After being in the hospital with congestive heart failure in 2011, and then later that year having surgery on a broken ankle, I gained a lot of weight. In June of 2013, I decided I was going to start exercising and lose weight. Otherwise, I wasn’t going to be around to enjoy life. I exercised every day and watched what I ate.

In February 2014, my daughter ran Disney’s Half Marathon; and after watching 20,000 runners, I wondered if I could start running. I had always had problems with my knees. When we got back to Ohio, I started running. It became addictive, so I made it my goal to run the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus ½ Marathon. I have lost a total of 130 pounds, am no longer a diabetic, off of most of my medications, and I feel great. I am looking forward to this run and many more.

Children’s Champion – Cari's Story

Meet Cari

When Cambell came into our lives May 26th, 2009, she spent much time in Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s NICU because she was unable to eat. The nurses were fabulous. After Cambell was finally able to come home with a feeding tube and oxygen, she continued to need countless doctor and therapy appointments.

We began to see a trend - Cambell liked to be at the hospital during holidays. Her stay at Nationwide Children’s at Thanksgiving time was brief, but exhausting, as they all were. Then she returned to the hospital the day after Christmas. Although the IV team members were the nicest people, I hated seeing them.

Finally, around President's Day weekend, or "Daddy's birthday," Cambell, and her Daddy, took another ride with the friendly Worthington Squad back to Nationwide Children's. She never came home.

We loved Cambell so much. We were exhausted, devastated, confused and scared for 9 terrible months. If we did not have Nationwide Children's Hospital and their excellent care, love and laughter when we needed it, Cambell never would have made it as far as she did. Her life was short, but meaningful.

Running a half marathon is nothing new to me. But I have hesitated doing the Columbus Marathon ever since Nationwide Children's Hospital became the benefactor of the race. I was scared, and still am, that my emotions will take over, especially as I run through mile 11, the Angel Mile. But I am able to run-and Cambell is not. So I will do it for her and all her angel friends.

Children’s Champion – Ally's Story

Meet Ally

This past year has been beyond difficult. My husband, our 3 year-old son, and I moved away from our closest friends and family in Denver, Colorado to come to Columbus, Ohio so my husband could begin his Pediatric Residency at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. I left my career as a Licensed Professional Counselor, was 35 weeks pregnant with our second son, and I knew my husband would be working long hours as an Intern.

Two weeks after moving, we were blessed with Asher’s birth. He is 15 months old now and has already had well over 100 appointments with specialists at Nationwide Children’s Hospital for developmental and medical issues.

At times, I felt our journey was a never-ending climb. There were unknowns, but I kept focusing on Asher’s infectious laugh and the support we received from our friends and family. I was also filled with an overwhelming sense of hope and faith by each and every employee we met at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. It is the place where I know Asher is taken care of in the best possible way.

We are blessed by the progress Asher has made. He is an inspiration and a reminder to be good to ourselves and to others. I hope that our story can be healing for those in similar situations, or motivate others to give in recognition of the efforts of this amazing hospital. I am running for our parents, for my brother who passed due to Edward’s Syndrome and my husband’s sister who is thriving in spite of having Jacobson’s Syndrome. I am running for hope and am filled with gratitude.

Children’s Champion – Lauren's Story

Meet Lauren

I am a Children's Champion in honor of my daughter, Grace Glaros, who will be the Miracle Patient at Mile 2. Training for a long run requires hard work and discipline, something that my 6-year old has had to maintain for her entire life. When I'm really tired on a long run, I think about Grace trying to walk, move and be independent despite her physical and medical challenges. When Grace struggles to stay motivated with her PT exercises, I tell her about my training and she is inspired to keep going. We move each other.

We were also moved to fundraise for the hospital this year because we know that Grace would not be alive without Nationwide Children's doctors and nurses, and her life would not be as fulfilling without the gains she has made with her therapists. We have received service from Nationwide Children's almost every week of her entire life and we know this will continue for years to come. Thank goodness we have Nationwide Children's in our lives.

Children’s Champion – Sophia's Story

Meet Sophia

Hi! My name is Sophia Kline and I am 9 years old. I am from Logan, Ohio and enjoy softball, basketball and volleyball. I LOVE GYMNASTICS!!! I have been chosen as the Miracle Mile Patient for mile 9 at this year’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon. My grampy, Terry Kline, nominated me to be a Miracle Mile Patient. Grampy nominated me because when I was 14 months old I had open heart surgery. I had a very floppy mitral valve and needed urgent surgery in 2006. I had my surgery on a Tuesday morning and by Saturday morning I was running in my yard. My cardiologist, Dr. Cripe, calls my mitral valve "one in a trillion." Since my surgery, I have had no complications and hope to never have to have surgery again. My parents are so thankful to God and Nationwide Children's Hospital for the excellent care they provided me while I was in the hospital.

Children’s Champion – HT Rangers Remember Story

Meet the HT Rangers

The community of Franklin County’s Hamilton Local School District bands together in times of need. They did so twice last school year when two different high school students lost their fights with cancer. TEAM Chris and Ali's Army were extremely supportive for them, and have continued to be for their families and friends.

Chris fought metastatic primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET) of the brain, spine, and cerebral fluid for years. He did his best to have as normal of a high school experience as possible. He was presented with a varsity basketball letterman's jacket, voted to the freshman homecoming court, and was invited to sit in Urban Meyer's family suite at an OSU football game. Chris donated his body to science to help find a cure for others with his diagnosis.

Alicia "Ali" was almost through her junior year of high school when she was diagnosed with malignant glioma of the brain stem. She was involved in the band, OMUN, was a member of the National Honor Society, loved science and mathematics, and was focused on her future. She fought courageously for months.

"The heart and fight of Ali and Chris inspired me to create a team in their honor," Anthony Beggrow, an intervention specialist at Hamilton Township High School, explained. "Our HT Rangers Remember team is a catalyst to raise funds for Nationwide Children's Hospital in memory of Ali and Chris while giving their families, friends, and community an opportunity to use the Angel Mile to celebrate their lives as our team members run in the race."

Children’s Champion – Kari's Story

Meet Kari

I signed up to run the Nationwide Children's Hospital ½ Marathon and to be a Children’s Champion in memory of my nephew, Bryer Largent, who spent 205 of his 333 days of life at Nationwide Children’s. He was chosen to be a Children’s Patient Champion for Mile 21 in the 2013 marathon, but he peacefully passed away in his mommy’s arms a month before the race.

Mile 21 remained a mile to celebrate, however, as family and friends including Bryer’s nurses and other hospital staff, gathered there to honor Bryer by cheering on all of the runners, especially Bryer’s dad who ran the entire race. I was deeply touched and inspired. How could I get involved and be a part of this? I have never been a “runner,” so I was scared of the idea of running in the marathon. But, remembering my brave little nephew gave me the inspiration I needed.

With the tools and support provided by Nationwide’s Children’s, I started fundraising. It was fun to be creative - from toy sales to plates of homemade cookies. People gave freely when they learned that their funds honored Bryer and would help medically fragile children and their families.

So on October 19th, I will bravely run my first Half Marathon with Bryer in my heart. I am excited to be part of the Bryer Song Team, and eager to see the inspiring Miracle Mile Patients. I pray that children and families will feel our team’s love, see our support, and share our hope.

Children’s Champion – Barbara's Story

Meet Barbara

What moves me is walking into the beautiful Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio and seeing children from all around the world getting better so they can return home. We are blessed to have some of the best and most talented doctors in the world at Nationwide Children’s. The caring nurses and support staff complete the package for the families. It moves me to see tiny newborns in the NICU, and then a few years later, see them on the playground with their peers. Nationwide Children's Hospital moves me because EVERYTHING MATTERS!

Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000