Steps To Health

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From the 2012 Annual Report, which can be accessed here. This article was written by Kate Moneymaker, one of our volunteer runners. You should sign up for a run to raise money for patients this year too!

In 2012 Wuqu’ Kawoq | Maya Health Alliance began giving its volunteers a new way to give back and support the people of Guatemala through the Steps to Health. People all over the country gave their time to train, fundraise and run to support a specific patient in need of care in Guatemala. Volunteers were completing 5k, 10k, half-marathon and full marathon races all in support of quality patient care. Sponsored patients included children and adults in need of treatment and financial support for anything from organ failure to cancer. In 2012 there were a total of eight Steps to Health runners who raised over 3,000 dollars by running seventy-five miles in support of our patients!

When I first heard of the Steps to Health program, I admired the commitment of the volunteer runners. When I was first asked to participate in an upcoming race myself, I felt simultaneously excited and nervous. However, when I heard about Billy, the patient we were going to be sponsoring, I knew training for a race was the least I could do. Billy was a toddler with Down syndrome that was in need of heart surgery for a heart murmur he had since birth. Money raised from the race would help pay for his surgery and care afterward.

I started my training about a month before the race. I took pictures of myself after my runs and posted them to all of my social media sites, hoping to inspire my friends to donate. I also included a little information about Billy and information on how to donate. One donor wrote me to say that the Steps to Health program is “a generous and meaningful way to put positive energy into the world.” On the day of the race, my friends and I were all able to complete the race in support of Billy after raising more than our $500 goal. The race was an amazing success, just like the many others completed by other Steps to Health runners.

Most importantly, we are happy to report that Billy was able to have his heart surgery and is recovering wonderfully. He is gaining weight and his cardiologist is very pleased with his progress. I would encourage any person that is interested in volunteering to make the commitment to race for a patient. Not only is the Steps for Health Program an amazing way to raise awareness about WK and the patients they serve, it is unique way to connect and commit yourself to a person whose life could be changed with your help.