KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
February 18, 2020
By Natalie Cook Clark
The Katy community will come together this Saturday at No Label Brewery for the 5th Annual Graeme’s Run. The event raises money for pediatric heart disease while honoring lives such as Katy’s Graeme McDaniel.
While she misses her son Graeme, who died in May 2015, Stephanie McDaniel honors him by helping others.
“He was just the sweetest little boy,” says Stephanie McDaniel, Graeme’s mom. “It’s an honor to share his story and help others share their loved one’s stories while we raise funds to support further research.”
Graeme had been diagnosed with Double Outlet Right Ventricle, Malposed Great Vessels, VSD, Coarctation of the Aorta, Straddling Mitral Valve, Aortic Valve Hypoplasia, and Complete Heart Block.
The McDaniels started Graeme’s Run in 2016.
“We wanted to have an event that brought the community together, told Graeme’s story, celebrated other heart babies, and raised money to support heart families,” says McDaniel.
Last year, Graeme’s Run raised $93,000, which McDaniel says goes toward important research. This year's event is expected to be the biggest yet.
“We are receiving more support than we’ve ever received,” says McDaniel. “It’s both in donations and volunteer support.”
In 2019, The Children’s Heart Foundation funded more than $1.4 million in CHD research across independent grants, joint funding with AHA, a 5-year commitment with Cardiac Networks United (Cincinnati Children’s and C.S. Mott) and fellowship at American Academy of Pediatrics.
McDaniel meets with these organizations that are working on research that would have helped Graeme.
“Our focus areas include diagnosis, treatment, and prevention and with more adults than children now living with CHDs, our research interests include neurodevelopment, cognitive, mental health, transitional care, long term care for adults with CHDs, and more,” says McDaniel.
McDaniel and her organization, Graeme’s Superheroes, work to support and help families that are walking the same difficult path that the McDaniels have walked.
At last year's race, one of the families who attended got the phone call telling them to bring their son to the hospital, they had a new heart for him. Read more Rowan’s story here. Rowan is an inspiration to many families anxiously awaiting that phone call.
Graeme's Sweet Smile
“He loved everything that his big brother had,” says McDaniel. “He loved tractors of all types, colors, and sizes. He loved to cook with his mama and do anything his daddy happened to be doing at the time.”
Graeme fought, but on May 3, 2015 his little body just couldn’t keep going.
“We are so blessed that we were able to spend two and a half years with him,” says McDaniel. “He has taught us so much about family, love, and the gift of children.”
More than a Run
Graeme’s Run is more than a run, it’s an event with fun for the whole family. In addition to the 5K run, there is also a 1 mile family walk. There will be live music, food, bounce houses, face painting, trampoline and a playground, and more.
Adults can enjoy free beer, silent auction, raffles, and more.
Registration is open. Admission is $40 per adult and $20 for children 12 and under. 100% of the funds go to the Children’s Heart Foundation.
“We are grateful to be part of all the good that this organization is doing,” says McDaniel. “It’s encouraging that we can share Graeme’s story and help others in sharing their stories too.”
Registration is still open for this year’s event:
5th Annual Graeme’s Run
Saturday, February 22, 2020
8 a.m. Registration Opens
9 a.m. Race Starts
No Label Brewery
Register and learn more about Graeme’s story and the run at their website.