I started riding in the Courage Classic back in 2014. At the time, I worked in the Cardiac ICU at Children's Hospital. As a nurse, you see the best and worst of all human experiences. With children, infants, newborns...it's totally different.
My time spent as a nurse in the Cardiac ICU was some of the most rewarding and challenging years of my 15-year nursing career. The jubilation of having a newborn discharged home. The heartbreak of having done all you can only to say "I'm sorry" to two grieving parents. Those are moments that, as a nurse, stay with you forever.
To many people's surprise, 1% of children are born with a congential heart defect, 25% of which will need to undergo heart surgery shortly after birth. Many of these defects go undiagnosed. These defects can be simple and require straight forward surgeries. Other children undergo numerous surgeries across years of their lives just to be given a fighting chance at making it to their teens and adulthood. And even then, their fight is not over.
There's the old addage that true strength comes from within. And I have not seen any truer strength than that of an hour-old child undergoing open-heart surgery, or their parents who stand helplessly by. By no fault of their own, or their parents, these children are born into a world with the deck stacked against them. And for the parents, "What to expect when you're expecting" didn't cover this sorta stuff! Nothing prepares you for what having a child with congenital heart disease entails. Nothing.
So...for those children who lost and not forgotten, for those children who have flourished and surpased all the odds, for those parents and families who have had to endure the unspeakable, and for those parents who have had to pick up the pieces of a life lost and try to move forward...THEY are the reason that I ride.
These are the reasons that I return to this event year after year and raise money for the Children's Hospital Foundation. It's one of the few causes that has had a profound personal impact on my life and one that I continue to stand by year after year.
Our goal is raise $3.1million for the Foundation through the Courage Classic event. I am asking today for your support in helping my team and I reach that goal. Your donation does not have to be much. All I ask you is this...if you or your child's chance for a healthy life was one in four, what price would you put on making a difference? Think about it...and thanks for your support!
For more information on the Children's Hospital Colorado Foundation, please visit www.childrenscoloradofoundation.org.
And for more information on congential heart defects please visit...
Check back here frequently to get updates about my training and the children I will be riding for.
"To everything There is a season And a time to every purpose, under heaven..."
RIP Jameson, Catalina, Kaedra, Colton...you are with me always.