Who Can Run A Marathon for Kids With Asthma? Erik Olson Can!
Which 11 year old do you know runs a marathon so that kids with asthma can experience what most other kids take for granted – attend a summer camp? Erik Olson has recently completed a marathon run after taking pledges from family, friends and others interested in helping send kids with asthma to summer camp.
It all began when Erik was participating in the city cross-country track event. Erik loves to run and never seems to tire out, according to his mom, Cheryl. During his race, Erik noticed that a boy he was running with had to stop to catch his breath. Concerned, Erik asked the boy why he had to stop running. The boy replied that he had asthma, and that it was difficult for him to breathe.
After the race, Erik told his story to his parents, and how he felt bad that a kid couldn’t run as much as he wanted to. Erik wondered if there was something he could do to help. With the help of his parents, Erik contacted the Lung Association and discussed ways in which he could make a difference for other kids with asthma. The Olsons soon learned that the Lung Association sponsors Discovery Asthma Camp, a camp offered to children with asthma between the ages of 7 and 13. Every July, 55 campers enjoy the unique experience of summer camp, in a safe setting made for fun and learning. The Olsons also learned that, according to a recent study funded by the Lung Association, 16 – 21% of Saskatchewan children have asthma, and that asthma that is not controlled can result in a child not being able to participate in activity like cross country running.
After talking it over with his parents, Erik decided he wanted to contribute to the camp for kids with asthma.
This picture was taken after Erik ran his first 5 laps of a total 25 laps. Erik has no difficulty asking his mom for his water bottle next lap in between strides!
Erik ran five kilometers at the Saskatoon Fieldhouse on Friday, May 25 after collecting pledges for the run. People who have heard about Erik’s generosity have called the Lung Association to make donations. All proceeds are going towards sponsoring kids with asthma so they can attend the camp. “Asthma is a chronic (long-term) disease that makes it hard to breathe,’ explains Jan Haffner, a certified asthma educator and Director of the camp. “Our camp’s goal is for every child with asthma to be a happy, healthy camper who is active and able to participate in all activities without limits. If the asthma is under control, the campers are able to enjoy all activities.”
Up until Erik completed his five kilometre run at the Saskatoon Fieldhouse at 11:00 am, Friday, May 25, 2007, he had collected $900 in pledges.
L to R in the above photo: Erik Olson; Cheryl Olson (Erik’s mom); Bernie Bolley (Medicentre Coordinator for Discovery Asthma Camp); Jaimie Peters (Health Initiatives Coordinator, Lung Association of Saskatchewan); and Megan Grier (Recreation Coordinator for Discovery Asthma Camp)
Since his run, he has collected an additional $120 for a grand total of $1020. The Lung Association will continue to accept pledges on Erik’s behalf for Discovery Asthma Camp until the first day of camp, July 4, 2007. Anyone interested in making a donation can contact Stella at the Lung Association at 343-9511 or, for out-of-town callers, 1-888-566-LUNG (5864).
And what can you say to an 11-year old with a heart the size of Erik’s? A resounding “Thank You” from all the kids who will be attending the asthma camp this year!