Nationwide Children’s Hospital has been a part of Lucy Conley’s life since she was a baby.
“They have really impacted her journey,” said her mom Susan Conley. “She has been cared for from head to toe.”
So when the Conley family was approached about sharing Lucy’s story as a Mile Champion for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & 1/2 Marathon, they didn’t hesitate.
Runners approaching their 20th mile at the Oct. 15 marathon got to enjoy a celebration of all things “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and high fives from Lucy. Family and friends joined the Conleys to support Lucy and cheer on the runners.
“It was a very humbling experience and it was a lot of fun for her,” Susan said.
Lucy lives with several brain malformations, including agenesis of the corpus callosum — meaning that the piece of tissue that connects the two hemispheres of her brain is missing —and additional conditions like epilepsy, cerebral palsy and viral induced asthma.
She started receiving therapies at Children’s at two months old and also got connected with LCBDD’s Early Intervention program. As she’s grown, both organizations have been crucial for her success, Susan said.
Early in her journey, doctors weren’t sure what her complex diagnoses would mean for her development. But with hard work, Lucy is walking, talking and loves to sing. She also uses an assistive communication device to help her express herself.
Lucy continues to receive therapy in school as a first grader at Etna Elementary and also has great relationships with her therapists at Children’s. Several of them stopped by Mile 20 to say hi to her during the race, Susan said.
They decided her mile would focus on her favorite show. Lucy especially loved the large Mickey cutout and the giant foam hand that she used to give high fives.
Watching the runners approaching the end of the race was emotional and several people told them that Lucy inspired them to keep going. Although it was chilly, their whole family had a great day, Susan said.
“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she said.