Akron, OH (June 11, 2019) — The Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series is excited to welcome runners beginning their summer racing journeys during the National Interstate 8k & 1 Mile on Sat., June 29, at 8:30 a.m.

For the fourth year, more than a dozen hero patients selected to represent the hospital, as part of its role as the title beneficiary of the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series, will be together before the race begins—cheering on the runners and walkers.

The 2019 hero patients include Saige Carpenter, a 5-year-old from Orrville, who has undergone three major heart surgeries to repair a heart defect. This year, Saige will be honored as the featured hero patient during the National Interstate race.

According to Saige’s mom, Jobeth Carpenter, Saige grew up knowing she needed to take breaks to catch her breath, but it has never stopped her from doing the things she enjoys or from becoming “an amazing young girl with a heart of gold.”

The Akron Marathon Race Series serves as a major fundraiser for Akron Children’s Hospital in its efforts to serve the children and families of our community. Thanks to the support of the races like National Interstate 8k & 1 Mile as well as Children’s Champion runners, since 2016, the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation has raised over $1.3 million for the care of the region’s kids.

“Our partnership with the Akron Marathon and Akron Children’s Hospital is special for our employees, as well as the community,” states Tony Prinzo, AVP Human Resources. “We are able to bring people together for the National Interstate 8K & 1 Mile, as well as support the rest of the race series. The hero patients are all inspiring and make each event meaningful.”

Saige will be joined by the following fellow hero patients from Akron Children’s Hospital:

  • Donovan Stringer, 10, from Warren, was diagnosed with a rare liver cancer. After rounds of chemotherapy and surgery, Donovan is now in remission. Throughout it all, he has stayed true to himself and continues to bring joy and kindness to others.


  • Jayden Wallace, 16, of Akron, was 9 when 24% of his body was covered in third-degree burns. Thanks to his undeniable strength and positive spirit, Jayden endured months of painful surgeries, dressing changes and therapies to heal his wounds and get back to playing sports and just being a kid.


  • Jessalyn Hartsfield, 15, from Youngstown, was born with primordial dwarfism, which makes her physical features petite. She doesn’t let her stature stop her from trying new things or making new friends. She’s also put in hours of speech therapy and endured epileptic seizures. Through it all, she’s always quick with a smile or kind word for others.


  • Madison Harrison, 14, from Green, has undergone multiple, complex surgeries and endured hours of physical therapy to be her best with her cerebral palsy diagnosis. She sings, dances and stays positive every step of the way thanks to her care teams at the hospital, home and school.


  • Joey Ricci, 15, from Springfield Township, was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease before his first birthday. With a happy disposition and incredible might, Joey has learned to crawl, walk and even say a few words, despite the challenges and uncertainty his condition brings.


  • Lucas Ransom, 9, from North Canton, faces complications from group B streptococcus. Lucas entered this world a fighter, and after double-digit surgeries, lengthy hospital stays and grueling therapy sessions, he continues to push forward to be his best. Even when things aren’t easy, Lucas approaches the challenge with courage and a kind heart to get him through.


  • Madelyne Williams, 14, from Kent, has chronic lung disease and cerebral palsy. With more than 26 different diagnoses, Madelyne works hard every day to be her best. Through hospital stays, surgeries, medications and therapies, Madelyne is always pushing forward and always, always smiling.


  • Mary Moy, 9, from Johnston, was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease that almost led to kidney failure. Since birth, Mary has managed her kidney condition with the help of surgeries, catheters, needle pricks, diet restrictions and a happy disposition.


  • Miles Postak, 6, from Wadsworth, was born with spina bifida. Miles has undergone multiple surgeries and hours of therapies to manage his challenges. Through it all, he does what’s asked of him while sharing kindness and love with others.


  • Cory and Katie Mihalec, 15, from Tallmadge, were born at 26 weeks gestation and spent time in Akron Children’s NICU. Cory, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, has had challenges since day one but has always prevailed thanks to his strong will and support from his care team. Now in high school, he continues to set goals for himself and works hard every day to find new and better ways to accomplish them. Born premature, tiny Katie had to work hard to gain strength, develop and overcome obstacles from the start. With her strong will and determination, Katie has achieved every milestone along the way and has grown to be a very kind and capable young woman.


  • Kyle Nottingham, 11, from Massillon, has leukodystrophy hypomyelinating 6. Kyle’s complex care has required countless hospital stays, surgeries, breathing tubes and therapies. While his care can be challenging, Kyle always tries his best and reassures others with his beautiful smile.


  • Brayden McDonald, 10, from Akron, was born with cystic fibrosis. Brayden has grown up knowing it takes extra effort to keep her lungs clear and to digest food. Brayden advocates for herself and relies on her care team to manage her life-long condition through daily medications, nutrition supplements and lung-clearance therapy.


  • Rybecca Rennie, 18, from Magnolia, was involved in a nearly fatal car accident. In all, she lost consciousness several times, and sustained 32 broken bones, two collapsed lungs and a concussion. After multiple surgeries and hundreds of hours of therapy, Rybecca was able to regain her strength and stamina so she could get back to doing what she enjoys most, especially being with her friends.


  • Hope Palmer, 9, from Mogadore, has cerebral palsy. At 7, and unable to speak the language or walk because of her health condition, Hope came to America from China to live with a new family. With strength and a smile, Hope has put in countless hours of therapy to become sure-footed and more self-sufficient while also learning to speak and read a new language.


To learn more about the hero patients, go to: https://bit.ly/2XDogun

This year, the Akron Marathon team will host more than 15,000 runners across its 2019 events all supporting Akron Children’s Hospital. Runners looking for a deeper level of engagement with the hospital can join the race as a Children’s Champion, a race participant committed to raising $250 to $1,000 for Akron Children’s Hospital.

The National Interstate 8k & 1 Mile course highlights The University of Akron’s campus with a unique tour of downtown Akron. Although it is designed for speed, the course supports both runners and walkers on their way to the finish on Summa Field inside InfoCision Stadium. Supporters and runners will find an after-party with live music, food and 20 craft beer options.

For more information about the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series, please visit AkronMarathon.org.

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About the Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series

The Akron Children’s Hospital Akron Marathon Race Series is organized by the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation, a non-profit group founded in 2002 to provide a world-class marathon and other events that promote health and fitness, stimulate the local economy, galvanize the community and benefit charitable organizations. The series features race dates in June (National Interstate 8k & 1-Mile) and August (Goodyear Half Marathon & 10k), culminating with the 17th running of the FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon, Team Relay & Kids Fun Run in September. Additional information is available at AkronMarathon.org or by calling (330) 434-2RUN (2786).


Contact:         Akron Children’s Hospital              

Holly Pupino, hpupino@akronchildrens.org



Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation

Kat Pestian, kat@ampstrategy.com