Red Shoe Run Team Thursday: The Karrs are running to help other families like them

This Thursday, we’re highlighting the Karr family and their efforts to give back to the charity after a stay with us last year. Read more from Brooke Karr on their experience at the Ronald McDonald House!

Aria Karr in the NICU

Tell me a little bit about how your family came to stay at the Ronald McDonald House.

We were connected to the Ronald McDonald House through one of the social workers at Children’s of Alabama.  Our daughter, Aria, was born with a Tracheoesophageal Fistula and Esophageal Atresia (TEF/EA). We were sent to Children’s the night she was born. She would require a major surgery to reconnect her esophagus to her stomach and move her trachea to its correct position. That first night, we slept in hospital chairs.  The second night, our generous friends paid for us to stay in a nearby hotel.  As you can imagine, this can be very costly so we were put in contact with April. After a day or two, we were able to move to the Ronald McDonald House on May 11, 2018. We stayed there until our discharge on June 25, 2018.

 

How did staying at the Ronald McDonald House help your family?

We are so grateful that we were able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House. We live in south Shelby County and it was quite a drive from our home to Birmingham every day. We were able to stay just a block away from Aria. Our time with her throughout the day was maximized because of our accommodations at the Ronald McDonald House. We were able to arrive for her early morning rounds and stayed with her until well after shift change that night. If you’ve ever had a sick child, you don’t want to be even a mile away – you want to be right there. The Ronald McDonald House afforded us the opportunity to always be with her but still have a comfortable night’s sleep and a place to relax at the end of a stressful day at the hospital. It also saved us the money on gas, miles on our vehicles, meals thanks to the generous donations, and a hotel stay. We were also able to make a home-cooked meal every now and then in the RMH kitchens and that helped tremendously in feeling “normal.”

 

What inspired you to put on your running shoes for Red Shoe Run?

Karr family with Aria in the NICU

RMHCA will forever hold a special place in our hearts. We stayed there while our daughter fought to survive. It was where we did our physical and mental battle. Before my daughter was born, I’d see the Ronald McDonald House ads at the restaurants but never really thought twice about it. Once we had a need for the Ronald McDonald House, it opened our eyes to the need for this charity.  It is such a beacon of hope for families with hospitalized children. At a time when you have so many things being thrown at you regarding your child’s health and medical bills, you sometimes forget to take care of yourself. Lodging and meals were two less things we had to worry about.

The Ronald McDonald House cannot run without donations. I truly have a heart for this place after our time there. They need people like us to pick up the torch and carry on their mission. What others did for us, we are now able to do for them. We decided to do the Red Shoe Run because we want to generate as much as we can for this amazing charity. I truly feel like I’m making a difference in someone’s life by donating and walking.

 

Who of your friends/family/coworkers have gotten involved? How are they helping support Red Shoe Run?

Our friends and family have been so amazing. Almost all our friends and family have given something. They have always been our biggest cheerleaders and I’m so glad they have decided to donate and rally behind us.

 

Brooke and Aria KarrWhat would you like to say to someone who’s thinking about running but hasn’t registered yet?

I would encourage you to just do it!  Jump in!  We are looking forward to the Block Party and reconnecting with everyone. This is such a fun way to make this charity known. And like I mentioned before, this is a chance to help a family during one of their greatest times of need. Taking away the stress of lodging and meals helps tremendously so they can focus on what’s most important: the well-being of their child. And all the money that’s raised goes directly to RMHC of Alabama. The facilities at RMHCA are very nice and that requires upkeep. So donate or run or walk!

 

You can get registered for the Red Shoe Run: Rockin’ 5K at redshoerun-bham.org. There is a 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run course that can be run or walked. There is also a Red Shoe Run Snoozer option for those who might want to skip the run/walk and still support RMHCA!