We first wrote about Lindsay MacDonald and her husband, Jesse Fraser of Cape Breton, N.S., in 2022, when they partcipated in the Million Reasons Run in honour of their two-and-a-half-year-old son, William, who was born with two very serious health conditions. William, who is now three and a half, has Hirschsprung’s Disease, which affects the bowel, as well as Tetralogy of Fallot, a complex heart condition requiring surgery.
William has spent a significant portion of his life so far at IWK Health Centre, a pediatric hospital in Halifax, and while he is now a happy preschooler, he will continue to need support from the specialists at IWK from time to time. His family is committed to their ongoing fundraising for the facility that saved their little boy’s life many times over. “My husband, Jesse, and I decided to participate in the Million Reasons Run again this year so that we can continue to raise awareness and money for a cause that is very near and dear to us,” says Lindsay.
William had his first open-heart surgery at only one month of age, and needed four more surgeries in his first year of life to deal with these conditions. His health problems are not that uncommon–Hirschsprung’s Disease affects one in 5,000 infants, and Tetralogy of Fallot one in 3,000.
William was born just before the pandemic started, in early 2020; his brother, Ewan, is five. But lockdowns made it difficult for Lindsay to take the kids out much, or to get the kind of social support she used to enjoy–and in any case, William’s health was too fragile. She started running again that summer as a way to get some fresh air and a break from isolation and constant worry.
“Running became a kind of solace or meditation practice for me,” she says, “and this continues to be the case two years later. I try to be a healthy person so I can be active with my boys for many years to come. It’s also nice that running enables you to pursue your fitness goals individually and in social groups, particularly now that the worst of the pandemic is, hopefully, behind us.
“William is a Heart Warrior and a HD warrior,” Lindsay adds. “That’s why we named our Million Reasons Run team, ‘William’s Warriors.’” Last year they were able to raise more than $8,500.
The Million Reasons Run virtual challenge has given hope to many Canadian families, raising more than $3.5 million since its inception in 2021 and creating a way to support 13 Canadian children’s hospitals across the country. The run will return for the entire month of May 2023, and represents a chance for Canadian runners to help raise much-needed funds for our children’s hospitals. (Sign up to run and start fundraising at the Million Reasons Run website, here.) To make a donation to William’s Warriors, click here.