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Annual CHaD Hero Event Supports Kids & Families

Oct 05, 2017 04:23PM ● By Linda Ditch

Picutre courtesy of

Twelve hours after Charlie Walker was born, he started turning blue again, and again, and again. After he was airlifted to the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD), the doctors discovered he had experienced a stroke in utero, and the episodes he was enduring were seizures.

Fourteen years later, Charlie still deals with epilepsy, weakness on his body’s left side, and developmental delays, but thanks to his doctors at CHaD, he’s thriving. To express her gratitude and help other families who need CHaD, Charlie’s mother Kellie will run the upcoming CHaD Hero half-marathon while pushing him in an adaptive jogger. She wrote on the CHaD Hero blog (, “There are moments throughout training for the half-marathon that I just want to give up—running has never been one of my favorite pastimes. When one of those moments occurs, I think about how strong Charlie is and how he’s a survivor. If he can survive all he has, I can easily survive a half-marathon and the training that goes with it. I run for Charlie because he brings out my will to run.”

Chris Smith described on the blog his daughter Avery’s experience at CHaD on that awful day last spring when she was diagnosed with leukemia. He wrote, “I was expecting to walk in and see her in pain and very scared. Instead, to our surprise, she was perky and laughing. She had toys, movies, stuffed animals, arts and crafts and was calling the nurses by name. Avery had everything she could ask for, and every person who walked into her room made her feel so comfortable. She was not acting like she was in a hospital. It was like she was in the greatest playroom on the planet.”

The 12th Annual CHaD Hero Fundraiser event takes place on October 22. Along with the half-marathon, there will also be a competitive 5K run, Cam’s Course 1 Mile Fun Run, a 5K walk, 5 and 7 mile wooded hikes, and a limited entry 25- or 50-mile bike ride. Plus, there will be a family-friendly street party and the Positive Tracks KidZone, so the whole family can enjoy a fun time. 

Event Coordinator Andrea Denhart says, “The energy and excitement on the day of the event is indescribable!”

The goal is to raise $850,000, with all proceeds going to support kids and families receiving care at any of CHaD’s 14 locations across New Hampshire and Vermont. If you can’t make it to the event, you can still help with the fundraising effort through Virtual Quest, which lets you participate anytime and anywhere. You can complete your own race, hike, or other fundraising idea to benefit CHaD.

To register for one of the races or a Virtual Quest and for information on all the events taking place for CHaD Hero day, visit the event’s website,

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