What does it take to become a Kid HERO?
Every fall, community members rally behind the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) in their annual CHaD HERO races. Individuals and teams raise funds and get active to support children that receive medical care at CHaD. Each year participants find inspiration in the chosen Kid HERO.
Kid HEROES are CHaD kids that, despite their medical journey and background, stay positive and want to give back to the CHaD community. They put names to the faces of CHaD kids and motivate others to take action. The position was officially created during the 2016 CHaD HERO; however, Cameron Marshall has always been considered the first Kid HERO.
Cameron Marshall - Kid HERO! being carried across the finish line by his principal during the first Cam's Course event.
Cameron Marshall was diagnosed with leukemia as an 8-year old, in 2009. In 2009, he helped the community come together and they created Cam's Course, a 1-mile fun run that takes place during the CHaD HERO. Cameron was also able to start B Positive for CHaD Kids while fighting leukemia as a 10-year old. B Positive for CHaD Kids still raises money for families at CHaD today. It was this same positive, community spirit that also created Positive Tracks, a founding CHaD HERO partner and nationwide program that helps "youth sweat for good." They encourage children to get active and give back. Cameron's positivity during his battle with leukemia started a truly magnificent movement within the CHaD community.
Jasper finishing Cam's Course in 2016.
Following in Cameron's inspiring footsteps, Jasper Vincent became the first official Kid HERO in 2016. Jasper has relied on CHaD from day one to help him become the strong, rambunctious 6-year old he is today. He was able to raise $5,250 on his own in 2016. As a Kid HERO, Jasper was able to complete Cam's Course thanks to his own super powers. The official duty of a Kid HERO is to send off all HERO hikers and walkers, and Jasper did it with flair. Jasper and his family will participate in their fifth CHaD HERO in 2017. (Click HERE to learn more about Jasper's story and click HERE to view his fundraising page.)
Jasper passing the torch to Shannon Watson.
In May 2017, Jasper passed the Kid HERO torch to Shannon Watson during the Launch Party at the River Valley Club. On October 22, 2017, Shannon will help kick off the CHaD HERO 5k walk and hike. Shannon is a 4th grader with Cystic Fibrosis and she has been a CHaD patient since she received her diagnosis at just 7 months old. Her positive attitude and outlook drove her CHaD Child Life Specialist to nominate her to be the next Kid HERO. Shannon has been described as cheerful and enthusiastic. She loves school sports and she especially enjoys running. Last year she was able to complete the CHaD HERO 5k in 39:12, which happened to be one second faster than her mom's time. She has a goal to one day be able to run the CHaD HERO Half Marathon. Part of the proceeds from the CHaD HERO go towards CHaD's Child Life program. The Child Life program benefits children, such as Shannon, that experience extended hospital stays due to their illnesses.
Kid HEROES are children that are willing to stay positive and take action, even in the face of adversity. They inspire our community to do more and to be better. These kids are truly heroes and they're here to remind us that one person really can make a difference. Anyone can sign up to be a hero by going to chadhero.org and committing to run, walk, hike, bike, fund raise or volunteer for this inspirational event.