Spotlight: Running for Andy
Children's Hospital Boston's Kelli Cole, RN, has been running the Boston Marathon for the past three years. But this year the race is more than just a personal challenge—Cole is teaming up with one of her patients, Andy Trevił▒o, to raise money for Children's.
A nurse on 6 West for the past three and a half years, Cole cares for patients whom she refers to as "the bravest, strongest kids that run their own marathons every day."
Five-year-old Andy is one such patient. Born in Mexico, Andy arrived at Children's on April 25, 2001, where he was diagnosed with a mutated nuclear factor kappa B essential modifier (NEMO) gene, which has caused a primary immune deficiency that makes his body unable to protect itself from even common infections. NEMO has caused Andy to be in the hospital for more than one-third of his life.
Cole became Andy's primary nurse in September 2004, shortly before a stem cell transplant aimed at restoring his immune system. The two quickly became good friends. "Andy's been through a lot," says Cole. "So many kids like him become quiet and withdrawn, but not Andy. He's so full of energy and has a great sense of humor. He's really an amazing kid."
When Andy's parents, Paulina and Andrłęs, found out Cole would be running the 2005 Boston Marathon, they asked if she would consider running for the hospital in their son's honor. "It was perfect timing," says Cole. "There are so many days that I leave work wishing I could do more, so I thought that running for Children's and honoring Andy would be the ĺ─˛more' that I could do."
As a gift to Kelli, Andy designed the sneakers she will wear for the race. Using www.nikeid.com, he was able to select the colors and have them personalized with his name on the left shoe and Kelli's on the right. "He's only 5 years old, but Andy's a whiz on the computer," says Cole. "We sat down together in his hospital room, and he mixed and matched colors until he found a combination he liked. He even threw in some pink for me, since he knows it's my favorite color."
Andy has been home since February and has started back to school, learning in a private room to protect him from infection. "It's unfortunate that he can't be with the other kids," says Cole, "but at least he has a normal routine again. He's doing great."
Cole hopes Andy will be able to cheer for her along the race route this year, but regardless, she'll be thinking of him as she runs. "No matter how bad I might feel during the race, I have to finish for Andy," she says. "In years past, I've never run for Children's, but the kids that I've cared for have always run with me. And this year, I'll be thinking of Andy."