Runnning for Lily began as a father, Brent Lape, and his brother, Todd Lape’s, idea of running 321 miles in honor and support of Lillian or “Lily” Margaret Lape. What they never realized was that Runnning for Lily would evolve into something much larger than them, or even Lily… Here is their story which they hope will race into your hearts.
Sept. 24th, 2012 – My wife, Kristin, and I were in the Operating Room at St. Dominic’s Hospital in Jackson, Miss. to welcome our sweet little princess into the world. Our 37 weeks of waiting was finally over and we would meet face-to-face for the first time. Hearing her first cry, and seeing her sweet face left me in complete awe. I remember the Nurse Practitioner mentioning running genetics tests, and I figured since Kristin has a colorful medical history, it was probably just precautionary. Besides, I had a beautiful baby girl that was occupying my focus and attention.
Walking down the hallway with her to the Well Baby Nursery and presenting the “Grand Princess” to all of our family was such a proud moment! I was grinning from ear to ear. The next moment I remember, I was in the nursery holding Lily’s small, cute little fingers and talking to the Neonatologist as he began inspecting our precious Lily. This was all new to me, so figured this was normal procedure. He was focusing a lot on her feet, her hips, her hands and then all I remember hearing him say was “…Lily has enough physical traits of Down Syndrome to warrant a genetic test…”
Everything went numb after that moment, and the next five days were a blur as we waited on the genetic results. During this time we would look at her features and justify in our minds that she looks like this person or someone we know had this feature and tested negative. This was our way of holding on to hope that our Lily did not have Down syndrome, and the doctors were wrong.
“As if we were mourning the death of all of the dreams we had for Lily…”
Sept. 28th, 2012 – Knowing we were going to get the news today was kind of like waiting to open gifts Christmas morning, full of anxious anticipation, but there was so much more at stake than an ugly Christmas sweater. The neonatologist confirmed our greatest fear that morning, Lily has Down syndrome. After receiving the confirmation we all went through what I can only describe as a mourning period. As if we were mourning the death of all of the dreams we had for Lily…like we were already writing off anything she would be able to do, or any future she could have had.
Amazingly, all it took was Kristin and I holding Lily…looking into her beautiful eyes…holding her cute, little hands to realize it would be okay. I realize now that what we were mourning were “our” dreams and expectations, which weren’t dead, just different. She’s just like any other child…she’s going to have her challenges and we are going to be there to push her and support her.
Oct. 3, 2012 – A good friend from high school sent me a Facebook message with a link to an ESPN video with the following message, “I hope that you will watch this story and be uplifted”. I highly suggest taking the few minutes to watch this inspirational video:
After watching the video, I began to think… what if I ran 321 miles for Lily? 321 stands for the third division of the 21st chromosome responsible for Down syndrome. How cool would it be to show to the world that Down syndrome is okay, and is nothing to be scared of? How cool would it be to show the world how proud I am of my daughter? A few days later, Todd sent me a message asking if I wanted to do the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon. I then recalled the ESPN video I had seen and sent him the link to the video. I told him the thought of running 321 miles for Lily and that Kristin and I had even discussed getting custom dri-fit shirts created that had “Running for Lily” on them. My brother’s response: ”You know I am with you on all of it!!!!!!!!!”
“Little did I think of what would evolve from that simple post.”
I realized that I hadn’t really told any of our Facebook friends about Lily’s diagnosis. I didn’t really see it as something you just say…”Hey, guess what?” Instead, I simply posted the ESPN video and said Todd and I were inspired by this video and we are running 321 miles for Lily; I asked if anyone wanted to join us in any of the runs. This simple post for my Little Princess turned into something much bigger.
Our good friend, David Seago, owner of StinkyFeet Athletics, commented on the video stating that StinkyFeet would like to support us in this journey and to let him know how they can help. After a great meeting with David, and some brainstorming, we were able to narrow down all of our ideas to a single focus and goal: Down syndrome awareness & acceptance.
We have developed running shirts that we are selling on the website (click here to shop) and in the StinkyFeet Athletics store. We hope parents, family and friends of children with Down syndrome can wear them proudly to show their support and acceptance. One hundred percent of proceeds will go to local nonprofits that provide resources to family and friends of those living with Down syndrome (ex. The Central Mississippi Down Syndrome Society, The Gulf Coast Down Syndrome Society and The Little Light House of Mississippi).
Thank you for taking the time to read our story! We hope that you can help in our goal of promoting awareness!