When Grace and Campbell Smith lace up their sneakers for the fourth annual Race for Every Child on Oct. 1, they’ll be joined by a very special participant: their youngest son.
Within a week of being born, the Smiths’ youngest son needed to undergo open heart surgery to fix a congenital heart defect that went undetected during the pregnancy. It was a scary time for Grace and Campbell, as it would be for any parents, but they say Children’s National came to the rescue. “They carefully and calmly explained the procedures he would go through,” recalled Grace, “and that in turn made us calm as parents that everything would be okay.”
“He is now a three-and-a-half-year-old, healthy, thriving little boy who will be running the Kids’ Dash at the Race for Every Child on Oct. 1,” Grace said with pride.
The Race for Every Child, a 5K walk/run that also includes a 100-yard Kids’ Dash for younger participants, is one of the largest community events focused on children's health in the Washington region. Proceeds will benefit Children’s National to help save lives and build strong, healthy futures for children by improving care, expanding access to care, and finding cures for childhood diseases.
This year marks the third time the Smiths, who are serving as this year’s race chairs, have participated in the event. Campbell said, “The last two years we participated in the race and formed a team -- a grateful family team made up of other families like us from all across the region who had received care or just knew someone who had received care at the hospital.”
The race, which Campbell says is truly “for everybody,” begins at Freedom Plaza and proceeds down Pennsylvania Avenue, providing participants beautiful views of the U.S. Capitol. Last year, more than 6,000 people from 35 states participated. “From serious runners to parents pushing strollers, patients at the hospital, as well as doctors and nurses, a lot of them run,” Campbell said. “It’s truly a community-wide celebration of the great work that Children’s does.”
The Smiths are encouraging people from all walks of life—especially those who have been impacted by Children’s National or know someone who has—to sign up for the race or get involved as a volunteer or donor.