Race Report: Nicole Phillips and the #7Runs4Hay

May 31,2022

Growing up in St. Louis we have always been so blessed to have access to Forrest Park, which boasts around 1,300 acres of beauty. Among the grounds of Forrest Park is the St. Louis Zoo, which is among the top in the nation. So to say that I was excited to run the second of #7Runs4Hay is an understatement. But wait, there is more! This 5K would not only be special because of the location, but also because of who I was with and the cause we supported.

The zoo was a special place to my niece Haylee, and is where she would take her first ride in Twilight, her electric wheelchair. She zipped around the paths in a place that she loved and explored it with true independence for the first time, leaving everyone else to catch up to her. You see, the zoo was always a place so special to Haylee that she would visit several times a year and get to experience with her classmates during what would be her only field trip.

The Make Tracks Through the Zoo 5K is an annual event that supports the local St. Louis Children’s Hospital. When diagnosed with a rare and life threatening medical condition, having an expert medical team and facility is not only important, but critical. Living in St. Louis, we were so blessed to have access to St. Louis Children’s where Dr. Grady would take the lead of Haylee’s pulmonary hypertension journey. Without Dr. Grady’s expertise and care, we know that we would have never had the four and a half years of making memories with Haylee that we did. 

Throughout our journey with PH we have been continually inspired by those living with and affected by PH. In our journey, we met Kathleen Richardson, who chose Haylee through Team PHenomenal Hope’s Let Me Be Your Lungs program. Kathleen and Haylee would meet in Orlando during the International PH Conference in 2018 and then again in September of 2019 in St. Louis. So when Kathleen asked if she could join me for the Make Tracks Through the Zoo 5K, I was overwhelmed with joy. The one lesson that I have learned throughout Haylee’s journey, and continue to experience, is that LOVE is all around and is all that we need. Love certainly was present for this 5K. Haylee’s love for life, St. Louis Children’s love that fuels their mission to be the guardians of childhood, and Kathleen’s love for Haylee. Love is the common thread and love is all you need.

Follow Nicole on her seven runs for Haylee here.

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