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GOTR of Central Michigan 5K Run a Success
The 5K run for Girls On The Run of Central Michigan was held on May 18, 2013. The run started inside the football stadium, headed down main street, around the walking trail, and then back into the stadium. The weather was optimal for the runners, with the skies overcast but no precipitation. One of the GOTR participants commented that the cooler temperatures made it easier to run the race. For more information on Central Michigan Girls on the Run, check out their website here.
Before the run began, Sarah Cox, a seventh grader at Shepherd Middle School, was asked to step out onto the track. The following was read over the PA system:
"Sarah Cox is a 7th grader at Shepherd Middle School and tomorrow, 5k day, is not only her birthday (Happy Birthday Sarah!), but yet another amazing step in her life! This story is shared by her father, Mark Cox: Sarah began GOTR in the third grade, running long distances for the first time. She struggled, but kept going and managed to make it through her first 5k (2009). Once finished, I told her that I would run with her the next year (4th grade 2010) if she wanted me to. Having never run a 5K before (my body was designed for tackling, not running), I tried to prepare the best I could. The family joke was that I would end up in the hospital after the run was over. Fate would write it differently. After we got home from the GOTR 5K, a couple hours after the race, Sarah ended up slipping on the kitchen floor and going down on the ground somewhat hard. After several hours of being in excruciating pain, we ended up taking her to the ER. The xrays showed nothing. Over the next few weeks, she started missing school because of back pain.
The Shepherd Journal
After a number of doctor consults, we made an appointment with the Midland MRI section and took her there to see what was wrong. The results came back that she had a fracture in her spine. Also, her calcium counts were off. Our doctor set us up with an endocrinologist at the Devos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids to see what was causing the high calcium (and the fracture). After extensive tests, the endocrinologist decided to order a full body xray and a variety of tests "outside" of his focus. After the tests came back, the test showed that Sarah did not have one fracture, but NINE fractures in her spine. And that she actually RAN the 2010 GOTR race with these fractures. They had no idea how she did this! After more tests and a consult with an oncologist, it was discovered that Sarah had A.L.L. (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia), and had actually run the race with it. Because her spine had deteriorated so much the few weeks prior to her exams, a "shell" was made (the type they use for scoliosis) and she had to wear it for nine months. Anything adding stress to her frame was to be avoided. GOTR had to go on a hiatus. After numerous hospitals stays (well over 100 stays); tons of chemo. hundreds of injections, port accesses, questions, etc., the end finally came for her treatment (2 1/2 years later). Sarah was determined to rejoin where she had left off with GOTR. As a show of solidarity, I once again ran the race with her (at this point, I was in the worst shape of my life, bringing back the jokes of dad ending up in the hospital). Thanks to Laurie Potie (Social worker at Shepherd Public Schools), we now have a photo of Sarah and I crossing the finish line together, signifying that she had beaten the cancer. Since then, she and I ran the 2013 Maple Festival 5K, followed by the forthcoming 2013 GOTR 5K."
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Central Michigan Girls on the Run Website