Marie Gerken – Mom first, runner second

“While I wasn’t exactly planning to run another marathon (running the 2003 LA Marathon was good in my book), I learned long ago to never say never! A friend of mine was looking to join an organization to run with for the 2011 Chicago Marathon because the race registration had already closed. Among the many charities available to join, we miraculously came across Open Heart Magic. While reading the mission of Open Heart Magic, I realized that ironically, my family had been recipients of OHM’s generous and heartfelt work during our son Luke’s stay at Children’s Memorial Hospital in March 2010. Luke ended up at Children’s after fighting a virus for weeks which eventually traveled to his kidneys. The magicians from Open Heart Magic who visited him were such a big hit that Luke kept the magic tricks they performed and wanted to stay longer at Children’s than needed! They truly were part of a team of people that brought comfort, smiles, laughs, and the wonder of magic to him during an emotional and unpleasant time in our lives. And so, instead of my original decision to be part of the road crew for the M4M running team, I decided to join the team as a runner for the 2011 Chicago Marathon. I did this, not only to give back for what they had done for our son Luke, but with the hope that OHM can expand to more hospitals and touch more children and families going through challenging illnesses. Every mile I ran during my training and the marathon was for one more smile, one more laugh, one more glimpse of hope, one more wonder of magic, and MANY more magicians to touch the lives of sick children in Chicago area hospitals. Running the 2011 Chicago Marathon was truly for the benefit of these children and the growth of OHM and not about my self-accomplishment. I feel privileged to be a small part of a great organization consisting of many great people with the best hearts around!”


Did you know that you can register for the marathon even after it closes by running for charity? Of course that doesn’t mean you should wait until it’s too late to sign up. The Miles for Magic team is a perfect way for people to get involved and truly support the organization and children. Marie’s story motivated me (Colin Joliat) when I read it, and I too will be running this year. I don’t think I could put it any better than she did; “one more smile, one more laugh, one more glimpse of hope, one more wonder of magic.”


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