Nov 29, 2022 / Scoliosis & Spine

Why I Run: Chasing My Dreams

Meet Summer, a patient who was seen by our team scoliosis and spine experts. Learn more about her journey below.

Why are you participating in the marathon? 
I am participating in the marathon for two reasons - to honor my father's memory and to celebrate my body’s ability to stay active. 

My dad was an avid runner and triathlete for a large part of his life. Growing up, he and I always talked about running a half-marathon, and maybe one day, a full marathon. After his passing in 2011, I decided I would run those races in his memory. I have completed four half-marathons, and I am excited that this will be my first full race. I am eager to finally check this run off our bucket list!
Another reason I am running is because as a former patient of Scottish Rite for Children, this marathon hits close to home. When I was 11-years-old, I was diagnosed with severe adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. My family and I investigated different treatment options, and I remember having an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. Many of the treatments came with risks and unknowns, and it was not until a family friend introduced us to Scottish Rite that I began to have hope. 

The smiling faces and kindness I received at the hospital instantly made me feel like things were going to be okay. Dr. Sucato and his team performed a successful surgery and gave me a second chance at life. They will always be my real-life superheroes and are the reason I am able to run this marathon. I dedicate every mile I run to the staff and patients at Scottish Rite. I am forever grateful.

What does Scottish Rite for Children mean to you?
 It means family. Walking through those doors is something special. I felt it for the first time 11 years ago, and I still feel it today. Scottish Rite gave my family and I the care, support and hope we needed at a time when we felt hopeless. They gave me the confidence to go out and chase my dreams and are a group of people that have cheered me on every step of the way. My mom and I still get so excited when we get to come back because it feels like coming home. It is more than just a hospital; it is where you meet the people who become your family.
Have you always been a runner? 
I started running in high school, a few months after I had recovered from my surgery. I had a straighter spine and with that new opportunity wanted to commit to a sport where I could not only grow personally, but also with others. It also felt like a great way to honor my dad. I instantly fell in love with the sport because it allowed me to build relationships with others. 

A lot of people have a “why” for their decision to choose running as a hobby, and I love hearing those stories and getting inspired by other people. Running has allowed me to share my story. It showed me that running isn’t just about hitting a new personal time record or simply completing races, but it represents my internal drive to keep moving forward. 

How do you feel when you run? 
Every time I run, I think of the teenage girl who was scared for her future. I remember how it felt to walk into Scottish Rite for the first time. I think about the pain and sadness that girl faced before she found the hospital. I feel motivated when I run, because I am doing it for the younger version of myself. I know she would be shocked that we are here. I also think of every patient, staff member and volunteer that walks into the hospital. I really want to do this for them. They motivate me every day.

Since 1997, Scottish Rite for Children has been the primary beneficiary of the BMW Dallas Marathon. In December, spectators will line the streets and neighborhoods of Dallas to cheer on participants, including former patient Summer. Learn more about registering for the BMW Dallas Marathon and how to support runners like Summer.

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