A Family’s Story: Why We’ll Move for the Kids

To honor my son, Jack, on May 12 our family will be among the thousands participating in the Move for the Kids 5k Run/Walk from Children’s Memorial Hospital in Lincoln Park to its new home at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, opening June 9 in downtown Chicago.
I, my husband, John, and our 6-year-old twins, Jack and Mackenzie, will be participating for several reasons. First, Children’s is a second home to our family. Jack has been battling acute lymphocytic leukemia for more than two years, and has always loved coming to the hospital. Now that it is moving, I wanted him to become a part of history.
We decided to form the “Super Jack” team to raise at least $1,000 so we could add Jack’s name to the Give Kids a Hand mural planned for Lurie Children’s. We’ve been blown away by the response from our family and friends, and we’ve raised more than $2,200 so far!
The new hospital will be a huge part of Jack’s life, and I want him to be proud. Perhaps when he’s a parent himself, he’ll take one of his kids to Lurie Children’s and proudly point to his name on the Give Kids a Hand mosaic mural in the lobby and tell them about the amazing care he received there when he was a kid.
Jack is a very special little boy. When he was just 5, he decided to raise money to buy “fun” BAND-AIDS® for the other kids treated for cancer at Children’s. He came up with the idea to have a lemonade stand, which we hosted at our local grocery store.
That day more than 500 people turned out to buy lemonade and donate boxes of BAND-AIDS®. Jack was able to present more than 1,500 boxes of colorful bandages to the hospital. Since then we have donated an additional 4,500 boxes, which is why Jack is known as “BAND-AID® Jack” around the hospital. We are also proud that he was chosen as the 2012 Boy of the Year by the Illinois Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, serving as an inspiration for other children battling cancer.
We support the hospital because the doctors, nurses and staff have given us the encouragement, love and support we need. They have made us feel like we are a one in a million family. We consider each person we have met along the way at Children’s as part of our family. We are blessed with such an amazing hospital and the people inside it.
I am running in Move for the Kids to give back. I want to raise as much money as I can for a facility that has done so much for us, and I want to be a part of what is to come at Lurie Children’s. There is never enough money, and I know personally that every little bit helps. Because of Jack’s ongoing care, Lurie Children’s is going to be our new second home, so why not put our mark on it? I know I can make a difference, and that is what I have set out to do.
Jack has many more months of treatments and a lifetime of follow-ups, so I want the new hospital to be a place he feels a part of. I want him to feel proud when he walks through those doors, and I know that by being a part of Give Kids a Hand I am helping him along. Jack is very good at making the rest of the world smile, so I want to be able to give that back to him and make him smile.
Story originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of Heroes Update.