The morning of Al’s Run, the three of us (myself, Jessica, and Namine) picked up my sister-in-law Nora (my brother’s wife) before meeting up with the rest of our team, which included Ann, Melissa, and Chyral (Jessica’s sisters), Namine’s cousin Olivia, my dad, my sister Lydia, and Bruce (a running buddy from work). We parked at the race’s finish line to board a bus which would take us to the start.
There were plenty of buses taking people, but we had to wait for a bus that could accommodate Namine’s wheelchair. Once she was on, she asked to be put as far toward the back as possible. Namine explained to me that the ride would be far bumpier sitting in the way back.
Once we arrived, the driver encountered some problems in getting the lift working to get Namine off the bus. She did get it working after a few minutes, though, so we were able to make our way to the starting point.
Since we had a little time before the race started — and we were definitely not starting with the elite runners, who were going first — we made our way to the Champions tent, where Namine and the other Children’s Champions could get some breakfast.
On our way, we saw some Star Wars characters. Namine asked them if she could get a picture, after which she informed Kylo Ren that he was her favorite.
My dad, Bruce, Lydia, Nora, Namine, and I ran the 8K; everyone else walked the 5K. But that’s not the point. We weren’t there for competition, speed, or setting a personal record. We were there in support of Children’s Hospital and all they’ve done for Namine and other children like her.
Namine is what Al’s Run calls a Children’s Champion: a child who has been treated at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. She’s been through countless surgeries, and she would not be alive today if not for the efforts of doctors, nurses, therapists, and many more members of CHW staff. We owe them a debt we can never repay. So we walk, run, and wheel in Briggs & Al’s Run and Walk.