Child’s Passing Inspires Half Marathoners

A Massachusetts community has been galvanized.

A Massachusetts community has been galvanized.

When two-year-old Owen Simmons of New Bedford, Massachussetts passed away in 2009, his parents, Heather and Andy, didn’t expect the goodness that would result from the tragedy. Owen had a disease called spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), which is a leading cause of death in infants and toddlers. After Owen died, Andy’s work collegue at the New Bedford Police Department, Stephen Taylor, decided to do something to fight SMA.

And so he ran.

Taylor took part in the Western States 100 Mile Ultramarathon in order to raise money for a foundation that raises money for SMA research.

Inspired by his run in the desert, Taylor assembled a group of local runners to run the New Bedford Half Marathon to continue the fundraising effort. “Through Facebook and people we know, we have close to 100 runners who will be doing the half to honor Owen and raise money,” Taylor said.

One of the runner’s is Owen’s mother, Heather, who will be taking part in her first half marathon. “It’s been tough because I’m in nursing school full time so I’ve had to get my runs in when I can,” she said. “I’m up to 10 miles so far and I think the adrenalin and the emotion of the day should help me through.”

For More: South Coast Today