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Because of Ben: My Reason to Run

This post was submitted by Jessica Tyler, a runner in the 2019 Disney Princess Half Marathon, for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals through

When my son Ben was two weeks old he was involved in an accident in our home. My husband was carrying him down the stairs, and our very quiet Saturday morning turned into emergency and chaos when he tripped over our dog and fell.  For a moment I thought everything would be fine, they would both calm down and shake it off. As the seconds passed, I realized this was no ordinary fall and called 911. Jeff’s shoulder had been dislocated and Ben was clearly in terrible pain. The boys were transported to our local hospital where we were observed for a bit, and we finally insisted on a CT scan, knowing something was terribly wrong.

I will never forget the moment the doctor came in and said “there’s a small bleed”.

The CT had shown a bleed in Ben’s brain. Another ambulance was called, and we were transported to Children’s Hospital Colorado, our local CMN Hospital and placed in their NICU. Over the next couple days, the bleed intensified, we learned there was also a clot and Ben began having seizures. He was put into a coma to allow his brain time to heal. After several days, he was weaned off the sedating meds, and little by little, we began to find hope. Little milestones- we held him again. He ate his first bottle. He came off oxygen and on to room air. And finally, we took him home.

When we were in the NICU, we were told that it was hard to predict what Ben’s future might hold. We knew that the newborn brain can be so incredibly resilient, but his injuries were severe. We were faced with the fact that our son may never walk or talk. We were scared, heartbroken and hopeful.

It is now two years to the day since Ben left Children’s Colorado & the NICU. He has exceeded our every hope and lights up the world around him. Ben has shown us the meaning of strength. We still have a team at Children’s Hospital, and we do early intervention therapies in our home to ensure that he continues to thrive.

My husband Jeff and I are forever grateful for the team at Children’s. We have met nurses who have become family. They celebrate milestones and birthdays with us. We celebrate Ben’s successes together, because they are our team. I don’t think they could ever understand the depth of our gratitude.

I run Disney Princess and fundraise for Ben and CMN Hospitals because they saved our son, and because the journey we are on is a life-long one. With each step and every dollar raised I reflect on all that he has been through in his short life, yet all that he has overcome. His strength, his stubborn spirit- they push me through. Without Children’s and CMN Hospitals I don’t know where we would be, but because of them we have everything.

Jessica lives in Colorado with with her husband, Jeff, and sons William and Benjamin. You can find more about their family and Ben’s journey on her blog, I Dream of Naptime.

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® is the presenting sponsor and celebratory charity of the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. Funds raised for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals in conjunction with this magical event will help kids grow up happily ever after. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals raises funds and awareness for 170 children’s hospitals in the U.S. and Canada, which, in turn, use the money where it’s needed the most.

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