Newswise — MAYWOOD, Ill., March 25, 2014 -- When 3-year-old Owen was airlifted to Loyola University Medical Center after a devastating accident with a riding lawnmower in October, his parents didn’t know what to expect. What followed was a month in the hospital, which included three surgeries to partially amputate Owen’s right foot and reconstruct his left leg. Owen was then fitted with a prosthesis, and he began physical therapy to learn to walk again.

Thanks to the care he received at Loyola’s Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital, Owen is now walking, running and playing again just months after the accident. His family and friends will participate in Loyola’s Health, Hope & Heroes 5K Run/Walk, and Owen will take part in the Children’s Hero Hustle portion of the event as a way to give back and support other children who are suffering from illness and injury. Race proceeds will support the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital.

“To the people of Loyola, ‘thank you’ isn’t enough. We arrived at the hospital with Owen not knowing what the outcome would be, and I don’t think we could have gone anywhere else and had it turn out the way it did,” said Owen’s dad Kevin Wills. “This race gives us an opportunity to give back to the doctors and nurses who cared for our son.”

The 5K run/walk will take place at 9 a.m. on Sunday, June 8, on the shared campus of Loyola University Medical Center and Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital located at 2160 S. First Ave. in Maywood, Ill.

The race will be followed by a Children’s Hero Hustle at 10:30 a.m. Area sports mascots and characters will be on hand to entertain kids as they race. Children ages 4 years and younger will run a 50-yard dash; children ages 5 and older will run a 100-yard dash. Kids’ activities also will be held at the finish line area from 9 – 11:30 a.m.

Race participants will receive a commemorative t-shirt, and children will get a t-shirt and custom-made ribbon. Entertainment and refreshments will be provided following the race.

Meet Other Loyola HeroesAbbey’s StoryFour-year-old Abbey was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) last year. Her dad, a local paramedic who often transports patients to Loyola University Medical Center, knew the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital was the best place for Abbey to be treated. Eugene Suh, MD, and Loyola's pediatric oncology team worked with Abbey's family to create her treatment plan, which included month-long hospital stays after each chemotherapy treatment. Today, after four rounds of chemotherapy, Abbey is in remission. Mia’s StoryMia was born more than three months premature, weighing 2 pounds, 5 ounces. She developed a serious infection and surgeons had to remove part of her digestive track. Mia spent six months in Loyola’s Level-III neonatal intensive care unit and much of the first two years of her life at the Ronald McDonald Children’s Hospital. Mia is now a healthy, active first grader, thanks to the care she received at Loyola.

Family and friends of both girls will participate in the Health, Hope & Heroes 5K.

About The Ronald McDonald® Children's HospitalThe Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital at Loyola University Medical Center was established in 1996 as a full-service hospital focused on families. Loyola’s multidisciplinary teams of doctors, nurses and staff are dedicated to helping children lead healthy, active lives.

Services are provided at a 98-bed hospital within a hospital that includes a 50-bed Level III neonatal intensive care unit, a 14-bed pediatric intensive care unit designed with the latest technology and family amenities, 34 general pediatric beds and a monitored unit for infants and toddlers.

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