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Running For Callie

August 29, 2012 by Victoria Strong

This is Callie Isenhour. Darling Callie just turned two years old. Callie was diagnosed with SMA Type 2 just six months ago.

After learning of Callie's SMA diagnosis, Callie's family quickly rolled up their sleeves to get involved in helping to change SMA -- by lacing up their running shoes! Jessica (cousin), Jennifer (grandmother), David (uncle), and Hannah (soon-to-be aunt) all immediately joined Team GSF to "Run For Callie" in the Anthem Richmond Marathon this November. All spring and summer they have been training to prepare for the big day and have been asking friends and family to support their efforts by donating. They have blogged, Facebooked and Tweeted, they have sent letters, and they have really let their community know about sweet Callie, SMA and how to make a difference.

Jennifer, Jessica, David and Hannah each have their own personal stories but Callie is why they are running:

Jennifer is Callie's grandmother and decided to do something new. "When I first got the news that my granddaughter, Callie, had been diagnosed with SMA, I was torn with many emotions. I wanted so much for her to be able to run and play. One of my first thoughts was that I would gladly give my legs if it would help her to walk. I have had a dream in the back of my mind to run a marathon before I turn 50, but I haven't ever really made the commitment. Now I have the motivation and the desire. I hope to use my legs to help in the fight against SMA for Callie and other children like her."

This is Jessica's first marathon but as soon as Callie was diagnosed, this busy mom started running 5Ks to prepare. "I am going to run a marathon in honor of Callie, and her parents, who I love very much and who are at the beginning of a new journey in their lives. This will be my very first attempt at running a full marathon. I'm scared to death about making this attempt so public, but it's for a good cause. Parker is almost 8 months now and so I'm working on getting my mileage back up. My intention with this isn't to PR on any race distance but to finish each one strong, and to give others an opportunity to help fight SMA on behalf of Callie."

This will be David's second marathon but his first for a cause: "Any time that I get discouraged and don't want to be in this, I think of Callie, and she makes all the difference in the world to how I feel about running. I am in this for her, so that one day she, and other children like her to come, might be able to walk. And it's going to be the most meaningful marathon I'll ever run."

As the marathon grew closer, Jessica decided to organize "Cookies For Callie" -- a bake sale and rummage sale as a way to get the community even more involved, educate about SMA, and reach their team fundraising goal. Last weekend Cookies for Callie was held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and it was a big success! So many people attended and so many were involved to help make the day so great. They gave up sleep and family time. Some switched off child care to come: one the night before until late and the other first thing in the morning to set up and load things. Many came back afterwards to help clean up. From Jessica: "I was in awe of how many people donated money, truck loads of stuff, and so much time. It was just the most amazing thing to see people supporting this cause. It was just an emotional thing and I was so grateful for each of them. Each person's little bit added up to SO much. It was very humbling to see that. " Read more about Cookies For Callie on Jessica's blog. 

Team Run For Callie has raised an incredible $3,246!!! And they have touched hundreds of people by sharing Callie's story. Way to go Team Callie. Way to go!!! Together we can end SMA -- one person, one dollar, one mile at a time. NEVER GIVE UP.

YOU can join Team GSF too! Run, bike, swim, climb… whether this is your first athletic event or you are a seasoned pro, we welcome all athletes to move their bodies so one day those with SMA can too. Learn more >> TeamGSF.com

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