Earlier this month, I was proud to be a member of the KCIC Cares team that participated in the Race for Every Child. It’s an annual “fun run” with a serious purpose — to bring the Washington metropolitan community together to encourage children’s health and wellness and to raise much-needed funds to help Children’s National Health System ensure that every child can benefit from world-class medical care. The race focuses on fundraising, community engagement and, of course, fitness. Funds raised by the racers go directly toward therapies, research, wellness programs and family support. The event brings together families and friends, community leaders and sponsors to reach a common goal.
As a Believer sponsor, KCIC wanted to make a big impact this year. We had over 50 team members (including three dogs) who joined together for a fun-filled morning on Oct.1, despite the constant rain. Our youngest racers enjoyed a 100- yard Kid’s Dash while the rest of the team participated in the 5K run/walk. We had a strong performance with KCIC Manager Andrew Petryszak placing 43rd overall and KCIC President Jonathan Terrell and my son, Jack Gutzler, both finishing 3rd in their age bracket.
For me, participating in this race is personal as well. My son has been a patient at Children’s National for the last three years. He was 14 when he was diagnosed with Alopecia Universalis, an autoimmune disorder that causes a person’s immune system to attack otherwise healthy hair follicles, causing hair loss. While neither life threatening or painful, Alopecia can have many psychological consequences. Jack’s doctors at Children’s have led us through many treatment options, always with kindness, compassion and patience. They have answered and re-answered every question, no matter how many times we asked. For my son, they explained each treatment option and laid out the risks and possible side effects, while being honest about the odds of success — no matter how bleak. While Jack is still living with Alopecia today, we are confident that his doctors will continue to do what they can to bring him a treatment that works.
Taking part in the Race for Every Child is just one way that my family can give back to a hospital that has helped us so much. The fact that my colleagues at KCIC join in the effort makes it all that more meaningful.