Race to Thank CHOP

A personal campaign sponsored by Sam, Chris, and Ben Sullivan



In the winter of 2015, Samantha was pregnant with Baby Ben. Chris - looking for a way to stay in shape over the winter - signed up to run the Wildwood Half Marathon. He decided to follow a 16 week training program, diligently running 3-4 times a week in preparation for the race which was going to be held in May. Ben was born on March 19th, and Chris quickly found that having a newborn while balancing training and work was a very difficult task. However, with Samantha's help he managed to stay (relatively) on track and was ready to run the race. 

The week before the race, Chris, Sam and Ben were visiting Sam's parents at their beach house in Delaware. That Saturday night around midnight, Ben, who was seven weeks old at the time, spiked a 104 degree fever and was rushed to the emergency room. After five hours in the ER the hospital advised that Ben be taken to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) for additional tests. Chris, Sam and Ben left Delaware at 6am Sunday morning and arrived at CHOP around 8am. Little did they know that it would be well over two weeks before they would leave the hospital together. 

Ben underwent a battery of tests, including a spinal tap, and the staff at CHOP discovered that he had late onset GBS bacterial menengitis. Bacterial mengitis, if not caught quickly, can cause permanent and severe brain damage in children, particularly infants. As a result, Ben had to stay at CHOP for 18 days while he was administered antibiotics through a PICCline in his leg. In addition, the PICCline required him to be hooked up to various tubes and wires the entire time. Chris and Sam spent every night with him, and he was never alone as his family consistently came to visit him during his stay. A few days after Ben was admitted to CHOP, it occurred to Chris that he was going to miss the half marathon, which was scheduled for the upcoming weekend. While it was an easy decision not to run the race, it was frustrating that all the hours of training would be for naught. 

During Ben's time in the hospital, the family fell into a routine and became friends with everyone at CHOP - doctors, nurses, aides, janitors, cafeteria staff. Over the course of that 18 days, the level of care that Ben (and his family) received was nothing short of remarkable, and it touched our lives in a way we never could have imagined. Thanks to the excellent care provided by the professionals at CHOP, Ben completely recovered from his illness, and the hospital will always hold a special place in our hearts and minds. 

As a small token of our gratitude, we have decided to run the Wildwood Half-Marathon this year, to raise money in recognition of Ben's time at CHOP. All money (or other donations) collected will be donated to the Children's Seashore House in CHOP, which is where Ben stayed while he was there. 

The goal is $2500 - anything you can donate would be much appreciated. CHOP is an amazing place, and for those of you with children (or who plan to have children one day) you will be glad its there, ready to help during some of the scariest moments of your life. 

With love,

Chris Sam and Ben

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