A Very Special Announcement: The Levac Attack

I wanted to take the opportunity to tell you about a special race that I’m doing this year and have done for the past 2 - as long as it’s been running.  The Levac Attack was started as the way for some friends of mine to give back to the hospital that has helped them come back from tragedy.  It’s not easy to write about, so I’m going to borrow the text of John and Lorna Levac’s story from the race’s fundraising web-page:

In January of 2010, we were so happy to learn that we were expecting our first baby! We had recently gotten married and wanted to start a family, so to find out we were pregnant was very exciting news for both of us. During the first trimester, Lorna found out she had developed a fibroid on her uterus, which is a benign (non-cancerous) tumour, about the size of a grapefruit. Her doctor monitored the fibroid, but was not concerned as it wasn't affecting her pregnancy. This fibroid did cause other problems for Lorna. It put pressure on her right kidney, which then formed a very painful kidney stone. As a result, she had to be hospitalized for two weeks so that she could pass the stone. Her doctors kept monitoring the baby throughout this time and everything appeared to be okay.

At the end of the first trimester it was time for Lorna's 20 week pregnancy ultrasound, to review all aspects of the baby's anatomy. It was at this appointment that we were blindsided with a devastating report. Our doctor explained that the fetus had shown major developmental issues with the head and face and he wanted to refer us to Mount Sinai Hospital's high risk pregnancy team. A few weeks later, we were scheduled for our first appointment at Mount Sinai, where it was conclusively explained to us that the fetus' spine was not connected into the brain and it was only a matter of time until it would pass away. No one can even begin to imagine the grief and loss we felt when we received this sad news. A few days later at a follow-up appointment, the doctors told us that our baby's heart had stopped beating and had passed away.

As we prepared for Lorna to deliver the fetus, her body was not reacting well to the hormonal changes and the fibroid was still very large, causing great concern as it impeded a safe natural delivery. The doctor and health-care team in the high risk pregnancy unit carefully monitored Lorna and even when it was deemed to be safe to deliver the fetus, her body went into shock and she was whisked away into Emergency and then recovered in the ICU. We each look back over the exceptional care that we received and will always be grateful to the staff at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Later on in 2011, Lorna's fibroid was surgically removed at Mount Sinai and now in 2012 we are delighted to be pregnant! Once again, we are under the care of the doctors at Mount Sinai, but are considered a normal, routine pregnancy (but maybe with an extra thick file) and everything is fine both with Lorna and the baby. It has been important for us to give back to the Hospital, the staff and the future babies and mothers that need to be under the care of the high risk pregnancy program.

John is an avid marathoner, triathlete and Ironman, so creating his own race was a good fit when he wanted to fundraise.  He and Lorna mapped out a short (2.8km), flat course of their quiet Brampton neighbourhood, and made several race lengths available: 5.6km, 11.2km and 22.4km (2, 4 and 8 laps of the course respectively).  Endurance athletes like runners and triathletes have their own guilty pleasures/rewards so each year has taken on a theme based on these.

The first year was based on a Burger Chain, the second on a Coffee/Cafe you might have in your neighbourhood, and this year it’s a cola based theme - each race length has a different name.

As I’m on the planning committee for this year’s race, I’ve seen first-hand the level of passion the Levac’s have for making this event not only successful, but fun! Race t-shirts, finishers medals and post-race food is all part of the deal.  It’s also impressive that they are able to cover race costs via corporate donations.  Race participants are asked to raise/donate a minimum of $100, and every cent of that goes to Mount Sinai.
This photo was taken during the 2010 Levac Attack - a family affair!

Besides being friends with the race founders/directors and this year being on the planning committee, the other reason this cause is special to me is that being a parent and having a family is the most important aspect of my life, but the sad reality is that getting to this point isn't always as straightforward for all people as we'd like.  Not all mothers and/or babies get started with all systems go, and it takes facilities, infrastructures and experts like these to make happy families possible.

The Levac Attack has its own web-site where you can find out more.  I’ll finish off with a request that you (especially if you are a running enthusiast in the Greater Toronto Area) do one or more of the following:

  1. Sign-up for the race!  We’d love to have you.  Use it as a stepping stone or training session  to your next big race.
  2. Donate!  You could always sponsor your boy the Iron Rogue himself... click right here to get started.
  3. Spread the word to others local to the event.  There’s the web-site, Facebook page, and Twitter is coming soon.

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