One mom’s discovery of the perfect child friendly event

Dawn Strauss explains why she and her family are going to run, relay and raise money for Children’s at the Red Balloon Run & Relay on October 9.

“After almost six years of being a mother, I find the majority of child friendly activities to be a tad painful. The zoo? Ugh. There’s nothing like pushing a stroller full of hot and tired kids looking at some sleeping animals. I’ve tried restaurants with arcade games and rides. But I leave those places having blown my diet and the kids’ college funds. I’ve even tried puppet shows. I am always searching for activities that my children and I can both enjoy.

The Red Balloon Run & Relay seems to fit the bill. In addition to walking and running events, the Red Balloon Run & Relay will have a DJ and kid-friendly activities like face painting, a bubble zone, a photo booth and tic-tac-toe and Wii games. Members of the Dallas Stars Street Team and the Texas Legends Basketball team will be there. And families can buy tickets for breakfast, snacks and lunch, with proceeds benefiting the Legacy chapter of the Women’s Auxiliary to Children’s.

You can sign up to run or walk, and then you start your fundraising. All proceeds go to Children’s, and you can give to a specific department at the hospital. Even my 5-year-old is getting into this. She’s in the midst of training to run the 1K fun run. Most importantly, my kids will have a great time while they work to help others.

The heart behind it all

If these activities aren’t enticing enough, then come out October 9 and meet the children who are benefiting from this event. My favorite beneficiary of the event is my 4-year-old daughter, Shayna. She is literally the heart behind Team Shayna. One hundred percent of the proceeds raised by our team will go to The Heart Center at Children’s.

So why am I working so hard to fundraise for The Heart Center?

I could state the obvious and rave about the incredible care Shayna has received. Shayna suffers from Mitral Valve Regurgitation and Left Coronary Artery Atresia (she has no left coronary). I could tell you how Dr. Forbess successfully operated on my then 15-month-old, who was in congestive heart failure. Or I could talk about the people in the cardiac ICU who were able to revive Shayna when she had an irregular heartbeat after surgery. I could tell you how, although more surgery is in our near future, Shayna is exceeding everyone’s expectations. She is happy and so full of life. You would never know that she’s a heart patient. All this makes The Heart Center great. I want to tell you what makes it extraordinary.

The little things that make a difference
You see, The Heart Center has brought light to the darkest place of my life. The people and the resources available to Shayna and our family have taken the unthinkable and made this journey bearable. What is it about The Heart Center that the average person can’t see?

It’s Chris, Shayna’s ICU nurse, who would hold her hand and talk to her when I would step out for a meal.

It’s the child life specialist who works on Saturdays that prepared my then 3-year-old to see her sister in the ICU.

It’s Barry, the echo tech, who would talk to Shayna about the Barbie movie she was watching during her echocardiogram.

It’s Jelly, the nurse, who told Shayna that she was lucky that she got to wear her heart monitor to preschool because she could show all of her friends the music box that was recording the music in her heart.

It’s Dr. Day, Shayna’s cardiologist, who makes her check-ups seem more like a visit with an old friend.

These are the people who motivate me to give back. So, I ask you to come out and join us for the Red Balloon Run & Relay. Support Team Shayna and help us thank The Heart Center for not only saving my daughter’s life, but for bringing so much joy into lives which could potentially have been filled with so much pain.”

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