8-year-old plans 5K to ‘pay it forward’
Eight-year-old Chayse Gilchrist of Fairfield is hoping everyone will “pay it forward” and “be someone’s hero” by raising funds for Child’s Life Services, an organization at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, that helped her and her family in a time of need.
“Chayse got very sick, and on April 22, she was rushed into emergency surgery to have 27.5 inches of her small intestines removed,” said her mother Niki Gilchrist.
That section of the little girl’s small intestine had died because scar tissue had twisted around it.
“She was put in a what is like an induced coma for almost three full days before they could close her back up,” said Gilchrist. “Once they were able to bring her out of this, and she was on the mend, she was moved out of the PICU and to JC3, where the Child’s Life started to help her.”
Gilchrist said Chayse was confined to a hospital bed to recover.
“She was too young to really understand the gravity of the situation and feeling down; that’s when child services changed our life,” she continued.
“My daughter is a very active little girl, and the Child’s Life kept her so busy that she didn’t have time to think about how sick she really was and how close to dying she had come,” said Gilchrist.
Child’s Life Services provides activities for pediatric patients at the University hospital ranging from arts and crafts, video games, cooking classes and entertainment, in addition to tutoring and support groups for parents and siblings.
Once Chayse was able to go home, she asked her parents what she could do to give back to Child’s Life so other sick children in the hospital could have the same activities.
“She wanted to host a fun run; she had just run her first 5K the weekend before she got sick,” said Gilchrist. “We are moving forward with her run, and on Sept. 6, she will host the Pay It Forward Be Someone’s Hero 5K fun run/walk in Fairfield.”
The event, planned for all ages, will be held at the Jefferson County Health Center, with check-in at 9 a.m. and the race beginning at 10 a.m.
Registration is underway now. Those who register and pay the $30 fee by Aug. 26 will receive a commemorative T-shirt on race day. The T-shirts also will be offered to anyone who would like to purchase one for $20.
“Child’s Life is such a great blessing to so many we want to do all we can to help give back to them so they can keep giving to sick kids and their families,” said Gilchrist.
She said other families in the area who have had children treated at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics also are helping with the fundraiser.
“Jodi Bennett, Janel Orgovanyi, Deana Lanferman, Samantha Campbell and Wendy Manly are all helping Chayse host this fun run,” she said.
“They helped my family so much,” said Orgovanyi of Fairfield.
Janel and Gabor Orgovanyi’s daughter Dorotea was born Dec. 11, 2007, at the Henry County Health Center in Mt. Pleasant. The infant was 14 weeks premature and weighed just 2 pounds, but the hospital staff kept her alive until doctors from the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital were able to fight their way through a winter ice storm with critical medication to coat her lungs and the equipment for her lungs to ventilate, without which she could not survive.
The baby was transferred to Iowa City and spent four months in the hospital there before she could go home.
“Tea … has since been a ‘frequent flyer’ to the University for surgeries and check-ups,” wrote her mother. “In the beginning, Child’s Life provided emotional support and activities for the entire family, including Tea’s older sister, who was having a difficult time coping with the traumatic events of her sister’s birth.”
Today, Child’s Life continues to help the Orgovanyi family as Tea is in and out of the hospital. The organization’s workers are at every check-up to distract Tea while she is being poked and tested and they are there whenever she has to stay.
The Pay It Forward Be Someone’s Hero 5K organizers are asking local businesses to help by donating to Child’s Life or by donating gift certificates to a silent auction to be held during the race.
Gilchrist said Pay It Forward; Be Someone’s Hero has been approved by Child’s Life Services at University hospitals, and all proceeds from the event will be given to the organization.
For information about the fundraising event, to help or to donate, call Gilchrist at 209-2068 or visit the Facebook page Pay It Forward, Be Someone’s Hero 5K Run/Walk.
For information about Child’s Life, visit the website www.uichildrens.org.