Recreation

Richmond family running miles for Will

HS journalism: Family honors son who died at 8 weeks old

Jaclyn Richmond and her husband, Mark, pose with their children after running the CRANDIC marathon (Mark) and half-marathon (Jaclyn) from Cedar Rapids (and North Liberty) to Iowa City. (Family photo)
Jaclyn Richmond and her husband, Mark, pose with their children after running the CRANDIC marathon (Mark) and half-marathon (Jaclyn) from Cedar Rapids (and North Liberty) to Iowa City. (Family photo)

CEDAR RAPIDS — People use different strategies to stay focused when running races.

One way Jaclyn Richmond keeps herself motivated is by having a list of people who helped her with the loss of her baby son, Will. Each person represents a mile she runs.

A Spanish teacher at Cedar Rapids Xavier, Richmond’s son was born with Complete Trisomy 13, one of the rarest Trisomies, and lived to be eight weeks old. Also called Patau syndrome, Trisomy 13 is a “chromosomal condition associated with severe intellectual disability and physical abnormalities in many parts of the body ... Only five percent to 10 percent of children with this condition live past their first year.”

Richmond’s method of thinking of all the people who have assisted her with the loss became especially important when she ran the Chicago Marathon shortly after Will died.

Richmond knew she wanted to participate in the marathon, but had to be picked by the lottery system to compete. Soon after she had set this goal, she got an email that read “Run the Chicago Marathon for Will.” The “Will” in the email was not her son, but another boy who doctors were doing research trials for and searching for a cure for his illness.

Richmond and her husband, Mark, were able to meet Will’s family and thought if this family needed help for their Will, they could help in memory of their own Will.

One of Richmond’s students urged her to wear a shoe chip to keep her motivated during the race and gave her one as a gift.

“I thought this was a great idea, so I got my sister, who was running the race with me, one also,” Richmond said.

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This started the trend of people wearing shoe chips that track mileage. People who run with chips tell the Richmonds how many miles Will has run.

Now when people run big races, the Richmonds will give them a shoe chip to run with in memory of their son.

Richmond and her husband, Mark, love running and see it as a fun family activity to keep themselves motivated and active.

“The last race I ran I thought about all of the children of St. Jude that I was running for,” Mark said. “It was a good perspective to remind me when I got tired that I have healthy legs and lungs, while others are not so fortunate.”

Together they have trained more than 1,000 miles in nearly 15 states. They are ready to see how many more miles they can run for Will.

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

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