One night when I was seven, my appendix ruptured as I slept. I vividly remember the excruciating pain in my stomach, the kind of pain a child simply can’t understand. I remember thinking, “Why is this happening to me? Am I dying?”
My parents, too desperate to wait for the ambulance, drove me straight to The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). I remember crying and screaming in the back seat of the car; my mother holding me in her lap, desperately trying to console me; my younger brother, sitting to her left crying and afraid; my father, holding my arm, trying to focus on driving his sick son and frightened family to the hospital.
The doctors told my parents that my appendix ruptured, that I was bleeding internally, and that waiting for the ambulance might have resulted in tragedy. When I awoke from surgery, my parents simply explained it to me like this: “You had something happen inside you, but that’s all over now – the doctors saved your life.”
I spent the next two weeks recovering. I was taken care of by the doctors and nurses, I enjoyed spaghetti and meatballs (that was only available for children, which was really cool), and I was even a little hesitant to leave when they said I could go home!
Throughout the 90s I would see SickKids telethons, and although I would donate, my contribution felt impersonal; I wanted to do something that had my stamp on it.
As 2013 arrived, I was in the process of making plans to begin training for a marathon. At this point in my life, I’d been running for a couple years out of the High Park Running Room and I knew I would begin training soon. In February inspiration struck as I came across a picture on Facebook of window washers dressed as superheros as they cleaned the windows of a children’s hospital in Pittsburgh. They were dressed as Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and Captain America.
It all made sense, I would run as a superhero for my first marathon! It was no challenge deciding on what costume to don; this run couldn’t be about me, it had to be about the hero. That’s why I chose to run as the Dark Knight himself, Batman.
Batman is simply a human being. He wasn’t bit by a radioactive spider, he didn’t come from Planet Krypton, and he isn’t a mild-mannered scientist who turns into the Hulk. Though Bruce Wayne is just a man, Batman is a symbol for justice and hope. Choosing Batman to emulate means I must be more than just a man.
My message is simple: the children helped by the SickKids Foundation are the real heroes. The devotion required to run 42.2K pales in comparison to the endurance required of a child facing a terminal illness. On October 20th, I want to show them that their courage inspires their families, their determination inspires superheroes, and their endurance inspires me.