For most kids, breaking an arm might mean some tears, a trip to the ER, a colorful cast, and collecting dozens of signatures at school. But for 7-year-old Harry, a fall at a New York City playground resulted in a severed artery and four trips to the operating room in a single week.
Doctors needed to take a vein from one of Harry’s legs and use it to fix his arm.
While his mom, Elaine, watched her son go back and forth between the OR and the ICU, her runner friends were prepping for the Airbnb Brooklyn Half.
For obvious reasons, Elaine was sitting this one out. But when she’d check her phone from the hospital room, she began to notice that members of her running community—Runners United NYC, a social running club in New York—were announcing that they would dedicate their 13.1 miles to Harry. They tagged their Facebook and Instagram posts with #runforharry—which later morphed into #run4harry and #irunforharry. “It kind of spread like wildfire,” said Elaine.
It wasn’t a fundraiser, but a support-raiser.
On race day, that support continued: Dozens of runners snapped post-race pics on the Coney Island boardwalk and tagged them with #runforharry. One group of runners recorded a feel-better video for Harry while they waited in their corral for the Airbnb Brooklyn Half to start. A cheering squad at mile 3 held a sign for Harry.
So many moments we could cover the BK half for the rest of the month but at the top of the list is Harry! Harry is on our kids team and he took a spill on the playground which left him with a broken arm and a ruptured artery leading to several surgeries and mom missing the best half marathon in the world. Then entire team rallied around him and his family. Everyone dedicated their run for Harry! Check the hashtag #Run4Harry #irunforharry for more. Get well soon!
After the race, Alexie Bailey, who heads up the Runners United group, visited Harry in the hospital and brought him an Airbnb Brooklyn Half medal, which another Runners United teammate later had engraved.
“I was blown away with the love and support of the running community,” said Elaine. “Many of the runners I've not even met. It boosted Harry’s spirits so much—as well as mine and my husband's!”
By the Monday following the race, and after multiple attempts, physicians were successful in repairing Harry’s arm. Though he’s still in the ICU, Harry could return home as soon as Thursday.
One sign that he’s on the road to recovery? Mom finally got some fresh air: “I’m going to have my first run around Central Park in over a week,” said Elaine.