Running for Chiari: When Every Minute Counts

For: Lisa Pitman for Chiari decompression surgery
Organizer: Hope Childress, sister
Running for Chiari: When Every Minute Counts (Lisa Pitman for Chiari decompression surgery )
of $3,250 goal
72% Complete
Raised by 52 donors
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

Many run from their siblings.

Me?  I’ve decided to run for mine.

You see, back in March, I got the news that my sister, Lisa, had been diagnosed with Chiari Malformation.  I could try to go into all the medical speak and pretend that I know what I'm talking about...but I won't.  I will tell you what I gather is the gist of it.  My sister's brain is too big for her skull and it's pushing into her brain stem, disrupting the flow of cerebral spinal fluid; which is also wreaking all kinds of havoc on vision, balance, hearing etc.   She has also been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder that has also caused a "cervical cranial instability." 

Yea.  It's official.  Big Sister does in fact have a few screws loose.

So, what's next?  Well, she needs surgery.  On her brain.  My sister needs brain surgery.  Gosh.

They will need to do a decompression surgery to take care of the Chiari and they also need to fuse the C1-C2 vertebrae to combat the instability.

Good news?  She’s found a very special specialist neuro-dude in Baltimore to fix her.  Bad news... we need to get a hold of $10K for a deposit before they can do the surgery.  Not to mention travel expenses and accommodations.  

I’ve been trying to think of ways that I can help.  So I’ve decided to put these two legs to good use.  July 14th I will run the Boilermaker Road Race and the Anthem Richmond Marathon on November 16th.  And instead of running for a decent time and a PR, I will run to help raise money for the surgery Lisa desperately needs.  

For both events, I estimate that I will be running for a combined total of 325 minutes.  I would like to raise at least $10 for every minute that I will be running. That would be $3250.  This is a race folks, in every sense of the word.

On your mark, get set……………………GO!!

I hope you might consider helping by contributing some spare change.  And if you’re not able to contribute, I hope you will consider helping by sharing or forwarding this link, by sending good thoughts, keeping her in your prayers

Not only is she Super Mom, but she is also Super Sister and Super Friend.  And we all need her to get her head on straight  :)

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on November 19, 2013

Posted on November 19, 2013

and in 4 hours, 9 minutes and 41 was over.

It was a heck of a day.  Lots of ups and lots of downs.  And I can tell you that a lot can happen in 26 miles.  And you can think about a lot of things in 4 hours.  And I've learned that you can accomplish anything as long as you have the will to do so.  I'll be honest.  At Mile 16 I wanted to stop.  And then I remembered the main reason why I was there.  

Because of you, we were able to raise $2,342 toward Lisa's surgery!  A sucessful day in every way!  

I want to thank you again for being a part of Team Lisa and helping me cross that finish line!

What's next?  The holidays of course!  The whole family will be together over Christmas and I will get the honor of presenting her with the gift of your generosity.  

Just because my races are over doesn't mean we're done.  I plan to keep everyone updated on her progress and hope you will all send good thoughts our way on January 14th.  We do still have a bit to go to get her there, so you know of someone that wanted to help but wasn't able to previously, they can give at

I really can't say it enough.  Thank You!!  

Posted on November 11, 2013

Posted on November 11, 2013

It’s race week. 

I’ve run lots of miles and training for weeks but the preparation continues.  Visualization, run strategy, resting, eating and sleeping.  I know this sounds a little frivolous, a little fluffy; but it is all part of the process and it’s all very important.  It’s called tapering.

And it’s all very ironic.

As I’ve been longing for taper time, longing for the resting and the eating and the sleeping, I mean give me a Saturday when I don’t have to get up at the butt crack of dawn…. As long as I’ve been longing for the taper, Lisa has been longing for the doing.  She’s had enough rest.  She wants to take care of her family, do crafts with her daughter, walk the dogs and spend evenings with close friends without the consequence of having to be still for 3 days after because of pain or simply having no energy to even move.  Not to mention the dizziness or verbal confusion…

I mean, who really wants to cook or vacuum or scrub kitchen cabinets?  I know I avoid it all costs…

But what if I physically couldn’t do it anymore?  What if I couldn’t do the things I truly enjoyed because I couldn’t muster the energy or stand the pain?  What if I couldn’t take care of the people I loved?  What if I couldn’t tell them I loved them because I literally couldn’t find the words?

Think about it.

What if you couldn’t?

It’s race week.  It’s go time.  It’s get-your-butt-to-the-line-and-give-it-all-you've-got time. 

I'm ready leave it all out there to cross that finish line but I still need your help to reach my goal.  $3,250 is the magic number and we’re at $2,231. 

$1,019 to go.

It’s go time.

Posted on November 5, 2013

Posted on November 5, 2013

11 days.

When I logged in to write this update, I wasn't quite sure what to say.  We are taking each day step by step.  In my case, each day with lots of steps :) We are both on target. Me for the marathon and Lisa for her surgery on January 14th.  Lisa continues to have issues with word association but it hasn't gotten any worse. Or at least to my knowledge it hasn't!

We've just been keeping on keeping on with smiles and a good attitude, but within the past few days Lisa has started to get a little angry.  Not necessarily about her situation or the condition she's been given...I'll let her explain.  She shared and commented on a post from her Chiari community that I would like to share here.  It may give you a little more insight into what she is up against in regards to the condition and the system, and why she had to wait until January so she could have Dr. Henderson as her doctor.  Because folks, he really is one of the few that can help her.

"This is one of the reasons I've been upset the past few days. A BABY!!!! Its just not fair!!! When I am on the mend, I swear I will be one of those people who try to make Chiari as well known as MS and Breast Cancer!!!! Having only 3 specialists to treat us has GOT to STOP!!!!! My Dr Henderson in Maryland now has a 6 month waiting list for a consultation appointment. The Chiari Insitute is turning people away, stating they can't help them. Dr. Oro in CO doesn't do those with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, so I technically ONLY had 2 choices!! Or go to a local doc, have them screw it up, and become another month's Chiari Angel.

[post from the community]
'Right now I am heart broken. Making this photo has made me cry so many tears for our littlest Chiari Brother. To his family I am so so sorry. 
Baby Easton is the 6th death in October just in our little Chiari community. We need to find a cure now!!! 
RIP Little man... love to you. 
We need to get our condition heard so we can stop more death from happening!!' "

And with that face, I have no other words to offer.  Too cute.  Too soon.  Too sad.  

Like always, I ask that if you can't help with coins, please help by sharing and spreading the word.  For my sister, yes, but also for awareness.  

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