Dad Runs Marathon in Honor of his Superhero Daughter
August 18, 2016 by Alissa Hazlett
When Chris Smith’s daughter Fiona was 3 years old, she fell on the playground at preschool. A common occurrence for a young child quickly took a turn for the worst when Fiona complained of stomach pain while she was in the ER.
A CT scan showed a mass on her kidney and spots on her lungs, and Fiona and her mother were immediately airlifted to Akron Children’s Hospital. Fiona was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumor, a rare form of kidney cancer.
“I was there when my little girl’s hair started falling out, when her legs looked like pincushions from all the daily injections, when she couldn’t eat from the nausea of the chemotherapy, and to explain the scars from surgery,” Chris said.
That’s why Chris decided to be a Children’s Champion when he signed up to run Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series Marathon, Half Marathon & Team Relay presented by FirstEnergy.
“I wanted to find another way to give back to the hospital that cared so dearly for us during our treatment, and inspire others to persevere through the challenges they face during treatment,” Chris said.
Chris has been an avid runner and triathlete for the last decade, but this will be his first time running the full marathon in Akron. He didn’t think he would ever run another marathon after finishing the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati – in his goal of under 4 hours – because of the time commitment and the physical toll it takes.
“Fiona has inspired so many people in her journey through cancer, including myself, that I felt I should run the Akron Marathon to honor her, the hospital staff and other kids undergoing treatment,” he said.
Now 6, Fiona is heading into her second year of remission and into 1st grade. She’s also started running 5K races with Chris, with a best time of 48 minutes, and has a goal to compete in a kids’ triathlon in the next year.
Fiona will also be on the Akron Marathon route on Sept. 24 as one of the Akron Children’s hero patients at the 98.1 KDD Hero Zone on Castle Boulevard.
“I hope each person can take a moment to reflect on the fact that many of us have been blessed to enjoy healthy and full lives, and find the grace to support the kids and staff of Akron Children’s Hospital,” Chris said.