Run/walk brings in funds to help with medical expenses for near-drowning survivor.
Bonnie Hahn’s 5k in her Marble Falls, Texas, neighborhood on Oct. 3 only included a few people. But at the same time, she knew that more than 850 people in 22 states across the country were walking or running, while social distancing, in the virtual Race for Lily Grace.
They were raising funds to help with medical expenses for Lily, Hahn’s 4-year-old granddaughter, who survived a drowning accident on Dec. 2, 2017.
Lily was just 15 months when she nearly drowned. A severe anoxic brain injury has left her unable to speak or walk. While therapies are helping on her road to recovery, several are not covered by insurance. The goal was to raise $50,000 to help defray medical expenses for one year. More than $121,000 was raised.
Hahn led a Thrivent Action Team*, one of 16 across the U.S. She rallied family and friends to join her team or lead a team in their communities. “We had a group in Colorado that was 20-people strong organized by my sister-in-law,” Hahn says.
In Dallas, Lily’s parents, Kathy and Steve Stigall, along with Lily’s three siblings, did a family run with Lily in a stroller. Elsewhere in Dallas, a friend ran a half-marathon. Friends in Nebraska—a family of six—set up a relay and competed against each other to raise funds.
“Logically, an event like this shouldn’t work during a pandemic,” Hahn says. “But it just took off, and it feels like God has blessed it in a big way.”
Participants received a T-shirt and a bracelet that reads Pray for Lily. The packets also included water safety information and a link to a water safety quiz
“Until we lost Colin, I didn’t know about how many young children accidentally drown,” says Dale Wolter, Thrivent client and grandpa to Colin, who drowned in 2008 at age 4. “When you learn what can happen and what to look for, it makes such a difference.”
Lily’s mom, Kathy, is amazed at the race results.
“It’s really humbling and a blessing to be a part of this race, to see people’s generosity even in a pandemic,” she says. “The Lord has reminded us that he will take care of us.”