It tests your guts, your grit, and your generosity. Saturday morning, hundreds will get down and dirty during the "Mayhem Run" to benefit the Children's Miracle Network, and some of Siouxland's smallest patients.
Hospital volunteer William Tjeerdsma had just outgrown one of the baby bonnets he's packaging when doctors diagnosed him with a condition that changed his life, forever. William Tjeerdsma, Volunteer says, "When I was 10-months-old, I was diagnosed with a large, inoperable brain tumor."
In and out of doctors' offices, William managed to find ways to calm his fears. William Tjeerdsma, Volunteer says, "Along the way, during the time I would have to wait for the doctors, there would be toys in the waiting room, which were usually donated by the Children's Miracle Network."
This weekend, William will volunteer his time to raise money for the cause at the UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's Mayhem Run at Stone State Park. Friday workers were still putting the finishing touches on the obstacles along the 3-mile course. Zac Chwirka, "Friends of Stone Park", says, "As you look up the trail, we're actually going to build some ramps out of these 4x4 structures." But, those aren't Zac Chwirka's favorite obstacles. Zac Chwirka, "Friends of Stone Park", says, "Mine are the water obstacles. I just tried one out. Last year we had these culverts that were up on kind of a plateau. This year, we put them down into the ravine. So, now you'll not only have to crawl through them, but they'll actually be water flowing through these culverts also."
Another obstacle is a box filled with ice cold water. Runners have to jump in, wade chest-deep in the water for about 8-feet, and jump out the other side. It's not easy, but organizers say, anyone can do it. Zac Chwirka, "Friends of Stone Park", says, "You do not have to do any of the obstacles. We've made it easy enough for people to go around the obstacles if they're uncomfortable with that challenge."
William will be there volunteering just like he has for 750-hours at St. Luke's over the last four years. A dedication deeply-rooted in the hours spent at hospitals over the last 17-years. William Tjeerdsma, Volunteer says, "I just felt like I wanted to give back, and start volunteering. Then, when I was given the opportunity to come and volunteer at St. Luke's, I immediately jumped at the opportunity " It's an opportunity to change lives. His, and so many others.
William still gets an MRI every year to see if his tumor has grown. So far, it hasn't. After he graduates from Lawton-Bronson high school next May, William wants to go to college and get a degree in social work in pediatric oncology... to help kids just like him.
The UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's Children's Miracle Network "Mayhem Run" starts tomorrow morning at 8:00am, Saturday morning, at Stone State Park. If you'd like to cheer on the runners, you have to take a bus to get there. Just park in the Physicians Center parking ramp at 2800 Pierce Street. Buses will leave every 20 minutes starting at 7:00am.
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