Second Annual Event Scheduled For Feb. 25 At No Label Brewery
By Cheryl Alexander
Feb. 25 marks the second annual Graeme’s Run 5K and 1 Mile Walk event, benefitting the Children’s Heart Foundation. This family-friendly event will be held at No Label Brewery, with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. followed by the Run start at 9 a.m. Attendees will enjoy face painting, bounce houses, food trucks a raffle and music provided by the Righteous Cause Band.
Last year’s event raised more than $40,000 for The Children’s Heart Foundation as well as shining a spotlight on America’s No. 1 birth defect: Congenital Heart Defects (CHD). Additionally, the event allowed Robby, Stephanie and Mason McDaniel to tell Graeme’s story.
On Dec. 18, 2012, Graeme McDaniel was born. His birth was in no way normal – Stephanie had an emergency delivery after the doctor detected Graeme’s heart rate in the 70s at her 34-week appointment.
During delivery, Graeme was diagnosed with double outlet right ventricle, malposed great vessels, vsd, coarctation of the aorta, straddling mitral valve, aortic valve hypoplasia and complete heart block. He was rushed to the Texas Medical Center where he underwent a coarcation repair, received a pacemaker and a pulmonary artery band.
“He spent the first couple of months flirting with the various nurses of the NICU,” recalls Stephanie. “He never seemed to lose his smile.”
With two surgeries and 44 days in the NICU under his belt, Graeme was released. At home, his smiles only broadened and he spread happiness to everyone he met. “Although he had plenty of excuses not to be,” said Robby, “he was the happiest little kid we could ask for.”
After living a happy and relatively normal life, the McDaniels lost Graeme on May 3, 2015, when he was only 2 1/2 years old. “We were devastated,” said Robby, “and in shock as we were left to try to find our new normal and purpose.”
The family rallied, however, behind what they feel is Graeme’s cause: raising awareness and funds for Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) research.
Like most people, before Graeme, theMcDaniels knew nothing about heart defects. What they’ve learned and want to share include the following facts:
- CHD is America’s and every country’s No. 1 birth defect. Nearly one of every 100 babies is born with a CHD.
- CHD is the No. 1 cause of birth defect related deaths.
- CHD is the leading cause of all infant deaths in the United States.
- Each year over 1,000,000 babies are born worldwide with a CHD; 100,000 of them will not live to see their first birthday and thousands more die before they reach adulthood.
- Each year approximately 40,000 babies are born in the United States with a CHD.
The chosen charity of Graeme’s Run, The Children’s Heart Foundation (CHF) has contributed an astounding $8.4 million toward revolutionary congenital heart defect research studies. As the country’s leading organization solely committed to CHD research funding, CHF dedicates itself to bringing health, hope and happiness to children and families impacted by a CHD.
“We know everyone loves a good fun run,” said Robby, “especially one that’s close to home and brings awareness and funds to such a great cause. We are so blessed by the two and a half years we had with Graeme. He taught us so much about family, love and the gift of children.”
The McDaniels are committed to keeping Graeme’s name and memory alive. It is their hope that by hosting yearly events and raising funds for some wonderful foundations they can do just that.
“We want to continue to make Graeme proud,” said Stephanie, “as well as help other heart families fight this awful battle.”
One thing that would definitely make Graeme smile is the family’s recent addition, their own rainbow baby.
“This year will be especially exciting for us,” Stephanie shared, “because we will have Graeme’s littlest superhero there. Juliet Leigh was born on Dec. 2, and we can’t wait for her to be a part of the day!”
To learn more, call 832-221-9116 or visit graemessuperheroes.org.
Category: People & Places in KATY