You never know when illness or injury is going to strike a child in your life or the life of someone you know. The Action For Distraction 5K was started when a 10 year old from Long Valley realized the importance of being distracted while in the hospital. Zach Rice was in perfect health one minute, and spent the next two years in and out of hospitals with a rare septic hip infection and resulting Avascular Necrosis. Come support Zach, along with this year's "Faces of the Race," who have recently found themselves needing Goryeb Children's Hospital like Zach did, along with the 50,000 kids who need treatment there each year!
2019 Action For Distraction
Face of the Race
Stephen appears to be your typical teenager. The Morristown High School Senior is an athlete who runs and skis. He is a member of the school’s Choral Choir and was inducted into the National Music Honor Society last spring. If that's not enough, Stephen works with a job coach once a week at the Morris County Courthouse and twice a week at MetLife. Those are impressive accomplishments for your typical teenager. They're even more impressive for a teenager living on the spectrum.
Stephen was diagnosed with autism at the age of two and he has never looked back. It was apparent from the start that long hikes had a calming effect, and exercise became an integral part of Stephen’s journey very early on. Over the years he has branched out to Cross Country, Winter Track and Spring Track. Endurance running has helped him with self-regulation and stress management. Much like his participation with ALL IN, a MHS club that invites typical peers to engage with their special classmates, he has also found running to be a wonderful way to meet people and form lasting friendships. Today, Stephen runs competitively for Morristown High School and has won the Coach’s Award for Sportsmanship twice. Just last week, on April 28th, Stephen competed in his third half marathon! However, his athletic prowess does not stop there.
Through the Adaptive Ski Program at Whiteface Mountain in New York, Stephen has developed into an excellent and confident skier. That is not to say that there have not been some bumps along the way. At seven years old, Stephen broke his leg in slushy snow. Since then, eating a healthy diet has become very important to him, including getting enough calcium and Vitamin D to keep those bones strong and healthy!
For many individuals with autism, running and skiing may not be accessible. Hippotherapy offers an excellent alternative for people on the autism spectrum to meet their sensory needs while connecting with animals and nature.
Stephen is not letting autism hold him back. We are excited to have last year’s Action For Distraction 5K Males 15-19 winner as this year’s Face Of The Race!
He has hundreds of miles behind him, and thousands more to go!”
2018 Skeleton Run
Face of the Race
Kaylee’s story begins in August of 2014 when she broke her right elbow doing acrobatic stunts on the trampoline. She was sent to Morristown after a different hospital couldn’t give her the care she needed. Dr Minkowitz performed surgery at 8:00 that night for a supracondylar humerus fracture. This was the first time she had a vitamin D level checked and it was found to be deficient (26.7 ng/mL). The level is supposed to be between 40 and 60, so she was placed on vitamin D supplementation. After surgery, she was in a cast for one month. After doing 4 months of physical therapy, Kaylee was thrilled that she was cleared to dance and could participate the whole competition season.
Then, in November of 2015 Kaylee saw Dr Minkowitz again, this time for knee pain. After x-rays and MRI were taken, it was concluded that Kaylee had an osteochondral defect lesion in her knee, which is a soft spot in the joint surface including cartilage and bone. Her mom remembers that it looked like a hole in her knee.
When OCD lesions do not heal, they need to be treated surgically. Kaylee was treated with immobilization, activity restriction, and optimization of her bone health. Her knee had to be kept straight in an immobilizer for almost 6 months. Her Vitamin D at that time was 31, even after continuing on 4000 iu daily since the year before (the average adult needs 2000 iu daily).
Dr Minkowitz gradually increased her vitamin D supplementation and followed her vitamin D levels, ultimately finding that she requires 8000 iu daily to maintain a normal vitamin D level. She was tested for celiac disease which was negative (this was checked because it can interfere with absorption of vitamin D). Although Kaylee has no risk factors for vitamin D deficiency, she is deficient when not supplemented and requires a large amount of supplementation to have a normal vitamin D level. By working on her bone health, we were able to get her OCD lesion to heal without surgery and she was able to go back to dance afterwards!
Unfortunately, in September of 2016 Kaylee broke her left elbow doing acrobatics in dance class. After another visit to the OR for surgery, Dr Minkowitz fixed Kaylee again. She had a cast for a month and again physical therapy for 4 months. At this time, she continues to take 8000 iu of vitamin D daily. She visited Dr Minkowitz one more time in January of 2018 for a sprained ankle and had surgery that same month to get the screws taken out of her elbow from her previous surgery.
Kaylee is a very active and fearless child. She is a dancer and does acrobatics as well. She is no stranger to bone health issues. She is vigilant about her bone health and is the Face of the Race for the October 20 Skeleton Run 5K this year that will benefit Goryeb Children’s Hospital and Pediatric Bone Health Research! We hope that by sharing her story, we can inspire others to take ownership of their bone health and make a healthier community one child at a time!
ACTION FOR DISTRACTION
FACE OF THE RACE
This accomplished young softball player is always smiling, despite being diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma Stage 3A in July of 2017. Her prognosis was optimistic. Then, the unthinkable. Scans from a blood clot she developed around her 12th birthday revealed that she had relapsed, and she had to start chemotherapy. Now, after ten rounds, she has spent nearly two months at several hospitals, including Goryeb Children's Hospital, as part of her treatment protocol. With more radiation, chemotherapy and a stem cell replacement on the horizon, and nothing but positive energy, Kristen is this year's Face of the Race. She gets how much it means to have distractions from pain ... to the point that instead of thinking of herself through all of this, she and her dad, Rob, bought an air hockey table for the kids at the hospital!
She looks forward to getting back Irish step dancing with Slattery School of Irish Dance. And of course, to softball, aiming high for the level she was at last year, when she was selected as one of the only 12-year-old girls from New Jersey to take part in the National Girls Faster2First Softball Showcase Event in Myrtle Beach, along with 120 of the best softball players around the nation! Yoshi, Spencer and her other NJ Renegades teammates that have been supporting her through this ordeal, and she can’t wait to pitch for them again. She's excited to actually attend the middle school that she should have started this year, take a REAL camping trip again, and dip her toes in the ocean! But in the meantime, she can’t thank her amazing friends and family enough for helping her through this difficult time. She's enjoying extra time at home with her brothers Robbie and Dylan while she is on homebound instruction, and snuggling up with her pets, Cookie the cat, and dogs Casey and Jake. She loves spending time with her softball buddy and long-time best friend Yoshi, and feels truly blessed to have made such good new friends with her hospital family, Jack and Audrey, who are known around the hospital hallways as the practical jokers!
This year, Zach is running for Kristen and the 50,000 kids that go through Goryeb Children’s Hospital every year. You got this, Kristen … . and we’ve got this with you! #TeamKristen #WeGotThis #ActionForDistraction
2017 Face of the Race
Another Long Valley gem, this beautiful 9 year old just celebrated her birthday ... but found herself in the hospital shortly thereafter. Myley started having seizures, and has been diagnosed with Epilepsy. This little trooper been in and out of Goryeb Children's Hospital over the last few months, and she's excited to be one of this year's "Faces of the Race" because she knows how important the art programs that this race helps to fund were to her during her hospital stays!