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January 18th, 2011:

SALK Day 18 – Henry’s Hope

By the time Henry Foster was 3 years old, he had had a dozen surgeries and procedures, had dozens of diagnostic exams, seen over a dozen specialists, and had had hundreds of doctor and physical therapy appointments.  Initially diagnosed with failure to thrive, Henry battled dozens of infections, respiratory problems, and visions problems.  He could not crawl or walk until he was 2 years old.  He had to have a feeding tube placed in his stomach when he was unable to eat.

After years of searching, worrying, and not knowing what was wrong with their child, the Foster family finally had an answer to Henry’s problems – he has mitochondrial disease.  His cells do not have enough energy for his body to properly function.  It is neuro-degenerative and progressive illness.  As Henry ages, his energy level will drop until there is not enough energy to sustain life.  Unless there are significant medical advances, Henry will die of this disease.

Despite the fact that Henry is often feels weak or sick, he is always resilient, happy, and courageous.  He has never complained about constantly needing medical treatment.  His parents created Henry’s Hope in 2010 in honor of children like Henry and their families.

The purpose of Henry’s Hope is to give “all children with life-threatening medical conditions have access to medical treatment, supplies, and support for their families – regardless of socio-economic status.”  The Fosters have seen firsthand that many families cannot afford the medical treatment necessary to arrive at a diagnosis for their children’s illnesses or the special food and medication required for them to survive.  Instead of focusing only on their child, they have created this organization to help other families that are not as fortunate as them.

Beyond helping families receive proper treatment, the organization is dedicated to provide advocates for families, to help them navigate insurance companies and government entities.  They also provide advocates that help these families understand the physical and emotional aspects of having a child with a life-threatening illness.

Henry’s Hope is dedicated to bringing attention to children with terminal and life-threatening illnesses and the lack of funding for research.  Henry’s Hope raises money to support research facilities that are working on more effective treatments and cures for these illnesses.

Henry’s Hope is an organization dedicated to easing the suffering of these children – some of who are fighting for their lives, and to helping their families have the medical and emotional support they need.   Amazingly, this organization relies completely on donations and volunteers.  Please donate whatever you have – whether it is money or time – to help Henry’s Hope.

You can also keep up with Henry’s Hope on Facebook and Twitter.

Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school. Today’s sponsor is Henry’s Hope.   For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.

Half Marathon Recap 2011

On January 16, 2011, I ran in the P.F. Chang’s Rock n Roll Half Marathon, my second half marathon.  I had a personal best of 2:06:18, nearly 3 minutes faster than my time last year.  This was, hands down, the most painful race I have ever participated in.

I started my training back in October.  I was pretty diligent about getting in my miles every week until mid-November.  By then, my school work had picked up and I had the decision to either go running or get enough sleep.  Not wanting to destroy my immune system, I often opted to sleep.  After finals, I went to my parents’ house in Northern California.  I packed all my warm running clothes so I could get back on track, but I soon learned that, “It’s cold,” was a viable excuse not to go running.  When I got back to Phoenix, I was determined to get back to running, but unfortunately my overzealousness caused shin splints.  In all of my training for this race, I did not run more than 5 consecutive miles.  Originally my goal was to finish the race in under 2 hours, but I changed that to finishing the race without stopping or walking.

I was careful to pace myself at the start of the race.  Even before I reached mile marker 1, my body was starting to hurt.  I did what you’re not supposed to do, and took 600mg of ibuprofen right before the race, and it didn’t keep the pain at bay.  My toes, knees, hip, back, and feet all hurt during the race.  When one body part would start to hurt, I thought, “Hang in there.  In a mile, something else will hurt.”

You-Can_Do-It
Image by Katchooo via Flickr

The best part of running the half marathon is the people watching.  I enjoy watching the people, reading their signs, and seeing the funny outfits the various cheerleading squads are wearing.  Every time I saw a familiar face or something amusing, it lifted my spirits.  I don’t think most spectators realize how much it means to the runners that they are there.

In case you were wondering, these are some of the thoughts that went through my head during the race:

  • You can do it… You can do it…. You can do it….You can do it…
  • Hang in there.  You’re doing great.
  • You’re almost there.
  • It’s only hard.

Around mile 10, I kicked it up a notch and started running faster.  I saw on the race clock that I was close to my pace from the previous year.  I wanted to try for a personal best.  I ran as hard as I could and I gave myself permission to collapse the second I crossed the finish line.

When I finished the race, I was in pain.  My joints hurt; my muscles hurt; even my internal organs hurt.  I went home and went to bed.  My friend came over to congratulate me after the race, and he could barely hug me because it hurt so much.

I’m pleased with my performance overall, but I definitely learned the hard way about the repercussions of being under prepared for a race.  Next year, I hope I can train more effectively and break the 2-hour mark.

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