Running for Kaitlynn
Organized by: Ben Hickman
EVENT DATE Feb 14, 2016
Several years ago, I was blessed to meet Kaitlynn LeBleu, the daughter of a good friend. Kaitlynn is 16 years old and suffers with Leigh's Disease, a rare progressive condition that affects the central nervous system. There is no known cure. Kaitlynn has been wheelchair dependent since the age of 6. She has lost a large amount of her vision and is unable to use her hands for normal daily activities, like eating, writing, or brushing teeth. In addition, she has severe scoliosis and underwent a major corrective surgery in 2009, which later became infected. In 2013, she developed respiratory failure and after undergoing CPR in the hospital, she ultimately required placement of a tracheostomy tube to help her breathe, which remains in place today. Since then, she has been hospitalized multiple times for smaller complications of her disease.
Recently, in October, she was admitted once again, and due to respiratory problems, she required mechanical ventilation and an ICU stay. After several weeks in the hospital, Kaitlynn was discharged to an inpatient rehab facility, where she receives therapy multiple times a day. It is anticipated that she will remain in rehab for 8-12 weeks. Once discharged home, Kaitlynn will return to her "normal" life, which consists of doctor's appointments, breathing treatments, therapy sessions, etc.
After meeting Kaitlynn several years ago, I was immediately inspired by her strength, perseverance, and faith. She continues to maintain a positive attitude, despite all that she has gone through. She is constantly thinking about others and prays daily for the sick. Her parents, Shannon and Jeremy, support her unconditionally. They ensure that she has the best care and treatment possible and find ways to get her to all of her appointments and therapies.
It goes without saying, that the financial burden on this family has been tremendous. Shannon and Jeremy have tried to continue working full time despite the obvious need to be with their daughter during her treatment and hospitalizations. Recently , Shannon was unable to continue working as she was needed to care for Kaitlynn full time. Even with health insurance, medical bills for Kaitlynn's care are astronomical.
After knowing Kaitlynn and her parents and hearing about her most recent hospitalization, I was inspired to do something to help. I have decided to run the Austin Half Marathon, on February 14, in support of Kaitlynn. If a 16 year old can endure all that Kaitlynn has in her short life, surely an overweight 34 year old can run 13.1 miles. I ask you, my friends and familly, to help in any way possible. Any donation, large or small, will help this family to care for Kaitlynn. All money raised will be donated directly to the LeBleu family. If you are unable to help financially, please include Kaitlynn and her family in your prayers.
Thank you so much for your support and love.