Calgary Health Foundation

Taking NICU One Step At A Time

Lisa Shearer hates running.

"I don't know what it is, I feel like I should love it but I don't," says the bubbly mother to nearly eight month old Isaac.

But that didn't stop her from strapping on shoes and heading out the door for the 35th Sport Chek Mother's Day Run and Walk.

She was inspired to run because of her son. Born at 29 weeks, by emergency c-section as a result of Shearer's dangerously high blood pressure, Isaac weighed only one pound 15 ounces. 

"They held him over the curtain and then rushed him away," said Shearer, "I didn't see him for another three days and then I was only able to hold his finger."

Isaac ultimately spent 82 days in the NICU. But now the cheerful baby is in picture perfect health.

"He is healthy and he is such a happy baby, a real gem," she said, "and we are very lucky to have him."

So how did a non-runner get involved in the Sport Chek Mother's Day Run and Walk?

"I was at the gym and was looking at race pamphlets," said Shearer, "I picked up one for the Mother's Day Run and Walk. It seemed like a nice way to commemorate my first mother's day and when I saw where the funds were going I knew that it was meant to be."

With an initial goal of raising $500 dollars, Shearer soon found she had to raise her goal to $1,000, then raise it $1,500 and again.

"We had emailed a picture of Isaac in the NICU and one when he was at home, and people really stepped up. I was incredible how generous everyone was."

So while Isaac stayed at home with dad, Shearer ran the five kilometre course with eight friends. She was able to raise over $2,000, money that went to life-saving equipment for NICUs at Foothills Medical Centre, Rockyview General Hospital and Peter Lougheed Centre.

It is equipment; in her is mind, that vital for premature babies. "The first five weeks that Isaac was in hospital he was on a SiPAP machine. He worked very, very hard to breath and the machine was tremendously important to him." said Shearer. She notes that often babies born that early have problems with their eyes and brains because of the oxygen they are given and the SiPAP machine allows for less oxygen to be given

"He is as good as he is now because of it"

With one race under her belt Lisa is hungry for more. She is training for a duathalon (running and cycling) in the fall and is planning on running in the Mother's Day Run and Walk again next year, this time with Isaac along for the ride.

The Sport Chek Mother's Day Run and Walk is one of many partnered events that Calgary Health Trust receives funds from. This year 14,000 participants laced up in 5K and 10K run and walks and 875 children took part in the Little Legs Race.  Money raised at the event will be used to purchase five SiPAP units, a Neonatal Ventilator, eight Joey Beds and a Bili Bassinet.