Run, Swim, Run

“Take a bunch of athletes with hearts big to bursting, add in children & young adults with disabilities who couldn’t participate in a race on their own, throw in jogging strollers, inflatable boats, lots of planning and even more determination, and the result is magic.”

Click here to read more about last weekend’s Allen Stone Memorial Run Swim Run & 5K at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Three children from St. Mary’s Home participated in the race, and Kathy Brobst, a physical therapist assistant at St.  Mary’s, did a lovely job of capturing the race  in words and images. 

Nurturing the Spirit

Children of St. Mary’s attend a church service. (Photo by Kathy Brobst.)
St. Mary’s Home is a nurturing place. The staff do a wonderful job of taking care of the children and young adults who live at the home. Kathy Brobst, a physical therapist assistant, recently wrote on her blog about a field trip some of the children took to nurture their spiritual side. Please check it out. 

Running for a Good Reason

Ready to start the 5K. (photo by Kathy Brobst)

One-Mile Fun Run finishers, with “Rocket Man,” who warmed up the kids before the race.
(photo by Kathy Brobst)

More than 400 runners, walkers, volunteers and supporters turned out at Fort Story today for the 21st Annual St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children 5K, plus One-Mile Fun Run.

This was the second year the event was at the Virginia Beach base. The event raises money to support the programs and services of the Home, which cares for 88 children and young adults with severe disabilities. Last year’s race raised more than $16,000, and this year’s 5K was on track to raise even more.

In addition, during the race awards ceremony, Team Hoyt VB presented the Home with a check for $10,000 — which the team raised for St. Mary’s during the 2009 Rock ‘n’ 1/2 Marathon at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront over Labor Day weekend. Team Hoyt runs with people with disabilities, using jogger strollers.

Thank you to everyone for making today a success. Your generosity is astounding.

For race results, see the Tidewater Striders’ website.

St. Mary’s Redefines "Family"

(Photo by Wéyo.)

Today we’re featuring a guest post written by Kathy Brobst, a physical therapist assistant at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children:

What defines a family? From a child’s perspective, your family is the people who love you, take care of you, see that you have all you need, comfort you when you are sick or sad, laugh with you, teach you, hug you and kiss you. The staff at St. Mary’s meet every one of those criteria. Our residents have a huge family, with more aunts and uncles and brothers and sisters than most kids will ever have. And that family crosses every single artificial barrier that society imposes. Things like race, religion, gender and national origin mean nothing when the heart of an adult who works here and the heart of a child who lives here make that magical connection.

I see busy nursing assistants take extra time to lovingly fix a little girl’s hair so that she looks extra-special that day. I see busy nurses pause to comfort a boy who is having trouble breathing. I see countless members of other departments, such as maintenance, housekeeping, food service, education and administration (just to name a very few) go out of their way to hug or talk to a child and make them feel special. I see so many examples of family love here, every day, that I am constantly awed.

So when one of our children grows up, when it is time for him or her to move on, we say goodbye with heavy hearts. That face we have come to love, and to count on seeing every day, will no longer be here. It takes a while for it to sink in, but when it does, the pang of separation is there. They were, are and forever will be part of our family.