Monday, September 16, 2013

26.2 x2 Running for Harper

I have been waiting to tell you guys about this for almost a week now but it looks like everything is finally set up and I can spill the beans. Marathon number 2 is officially on the calendar. I know, I said I didn’t want to run 26.2 again unless it was at the end of an IRONMAN and I had no desire to run another race in Nashville TN cause of all the hills, turns out I’m a BIG FAT LIAR! But even in my Big Fat Liar pants I am so happy to let you know what is going on.

I will be running the Music City Rock ‘n Roll Marathon in Nashville TN in April as a St. Jude Hero in order to raise money for St. Jude in Honor of Harper. I would explain to you what prompted this decision but a friend of mine explains it much better than I do....

Our names are Jill and Owen Bagley and this is our daughter’s story.

Harper Eakin Bagley was born on July 22, 2013 at 11:58 PM was 8lbs 13oz / 21.5in long and is our own “royal” baby. However, Harper’s story really begins one week before she was born. On July 15th my doctor asked me to come in for an ultrasound to check Harper’s size. After an uneventful appointment we received a phone call that something had shown up on the ultrasound and they would like me to come back the following day for another scan. Following the 2nd ultrasound that next day we received news that Harper had what they believed to be a small cyst on her ovary that would need to be removed in the week following her birth. This came as quite a shock to Owen and I but seemed harmless enough. Flash forward one week and our world would be completely rocked.

Twelve hours after being born Harper had an ultrasound and MRI that revealed what we thought was a small ovarian cyst was actually a larger unknown mass connected to either her kidney or adrenal gland. Words cannot describe the feelings we had at this point. Within minutes of finding out this news we began meetings with our Pediatrician, a St. Jude Oncologist, and the entire Neonatal Surgery Team. The plan was to make an incision from Harper’s belly button to her side, remove the mass, send it off to pathology, and wait for the results. The next day, Thursday July 25th, Harper had her surgery to remove the mass and we found out it was a Congenital Cystic Neuroblastoma and only the 24th case to ever be reported in an infant. However, the good news was that our surgery team could find no spread of the cancer, no enlarged lymph nodes, and the pathology reports had come back benign. Excited, relieved, grateful, thankful, etc. can’t describe how Owen and I felt after hearing all this good news, but even with all the good news we were informed by our doctors that we would still need to make a trip to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, TN for additional scans and testing. One week later Owen, Harper, and I were off to Memphis for what we hoped to be a short and boring trip.

Upon arriving in Memphis we were greeted with smiling faces and a whirlwind of appointments, scans, tests, etc. To say we were a little overwhelmed would be an understatement but the people at St. Jude took us in as if we were their own family and helped us through the entire process. The next four days would see Harper undergo a bone scan, MIBG scan, bone marrow aspiration, anesthesia, and too many needle sticks to count. After what I can only describe as four LLLOOONNNGGG days we received confirmation from St. Jude that indeed Harper’s cancer had not spread to any other part of her body and we would simply need to follow-up on a weekly basis with the Huntsville affiliate. Absolutely elated, we returned home to Fayetteville and as scheduled meet with our doctors in Huntsville to only receive the unimaginable. An ultrasound of Harper’s abdomen revealed that her cancer had indeed spread and was now in her liver. This time however, surgery was not an option and 3 days later we were headed back to Memphis for more tests and chemotherapy.

This now brings us to present day. As of today, September 12, 2013, Harper has undergone additional surgeries to have her Hickman line placed in her chest, repeated all prior scans, multiple blood transfusions and completed her first round of chemotherapy. Her next of a potential 8 rounds of chemo is set for September 25th. She continues to amaze Owen and I everyday with her resiliency and toughness and we are so grateful to have her in our life. Owen and I have been blessed with great doctors, fantastic nurses, loving family & friends, and a strong faith in our in our lord Jesus Christ.

In closing, we would simply like to say Thank You to everyone who has helped us and been by our side during this journey. All families and children that are sent to St. Jude receive the BEST care in the world at absolutely 0 cost, and with your prayers and their knowledge Harper will WIN this fight!!!

Grateful and Blessed,

Jill, Owen, and Harper Bagley
TEAM 365

So now you can see why I am so excited to run this race. WE are running this race as a team in order to raise money for St. Jude in Honor of Harper. I don’t know that I have ever been more excited to run 26 miles, or been so excited to train for it. Now, I need your help. Every time I have ever participated in a race to raise money I always hear the same thing, “I would rather give money than have to run!” Guess what, your wish has been granted…I’m not asking you to run a single step, but I am asking for you to help us raise money for Little Harper. You can click here and go donate to our team, TEAM 365, in helps of getting us to our goal of $5000 by April. No amount is too small, anything from $1 to $1000 is appreciated and one step closer to our goal.

If you are wanting to run this race and join our team we would love to have you! The more the merrier. You can click here and select “Register for this Event and Join our Team.” Each runner will also get a personal page to raise money. The more runners the bigger the outreach and the more possibility to raise money in Harpers name.

You will see in the sidebar the picture that will take you to my page and hopefully that will give you all the info you need or the ability to join our team. If you are interested in helping raise money, running, or have any questions what so ever please don’t hesitate to email me at and I will do my best to help. Let’s do this!!!

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