I was three years old. My recurring ear infections had given way to mastoiditis, and there was a chunk of my head that had to go before the infection could spread to my brain.
My Dad worked for himself, so my parents carried private insurance that excluded my ears on account of how expensive they’d become. While footing the bill for the occasional round of antibiotics wasn’t a problem, when it came to major surgery and a seventeen day hospital stay it didn’t take long for the bills to become insurmountable.
It would be years before I would fully comprehend the terror my parents must have experienced. Their child was sick, really sick, and turning down the six figure surgery was not an option.
(That’s my late Grandpa George in the picture with me. Delilah George’s name source.)
Fortunately, they didn’t have to. My surgeon, a legendary ENT named Dr. Cohen, told my parents early on they didn’t have to worry about the cost of my care. This was Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. They were in the business of saving kids, not bankrupting families. The hospital had a fund that would cover the lion’s share of the costs.
At three, life-threatening illness aside, I have extremely fond memories of CHLA. I played, I did arts and crafts, I got a LOT of absurd toys. I made friends with the boy in the room next to me. The nurses gave me stickers. When it was over, they rolled my goodies out in a little red wagon, and I remember being sad to leave.
As a parent, I see the experience through new eyes. Children’s Hospital saved my life, but it also carried my family through an unimaginably scary time. There’s no proper way to say thank you for something like that. But at least by participating in the Miracle Marathon, I can kind of try.
Miracle Marathon is a 27-day virtual event raising funds for 170 individual children’s hospitals across North America. Participants run/walk (or achieve forward motion of any kind) one mile per day at their leisure. The first 26 days are completed at the participant’s own pace—at a time and place of their own choosing. On Day 27, the final 1.2 miles will be started as a group at the same time (2:27 pm EST). Why the number 27.2? It’s a marathon, plus a mile, for the kids!
I’m the Los Angeles team leader, and I really want you to join me. (If nothing else, a mile a day is good for you!) I’ll be raising funds for CHLA, where they’ll be allocated to the departments that need them most. You can get 10% off registration by using the code: MiracleMorgan. Join my team HERE, and help me pay it forward.
And at CHLA, they still use those red wagons to help their patients transport goodies.