Graeme’s Superheroes: A Family on a Mission to Raise Awareness
Robby & Stephanie McDaniel are two loving parents on a mission and dedicated to keeping the memory of their precious son alive. They’e doing that and more with the continued success of Graeme’s Run.
The McDaniel’s son Graeme was born in 2012 with Complex Congenital Heart Defects (CHD). After detecting an abnormal heart rate, Stephanie’s doctor wanted to delivery the baby immediately, at just 34 weeks.
Shortly after birth, Graeme was diagnosed with Double Outlet Right Ventricle, Malposed Great Vessels, VSD, Coarctation of the Aorta, Straddling Mitral Valve, Aortic Valve Hypoplasia, and Complete Heart Block. All of these conditions went undetected in their 20-week anatomy scan and not something they were prepared for.
Graeme was rushed to the Texas Medical Center where he underwent a coarctation repair, a pacemaker was placed, and a Pulmonary Artery band was placed. His parents say he spent the first couple of months flirting with the various nurses of the NICU and with 2 surgeries under his belt their little trooper was released after 44 days.
He came home and from then on, Stephanie and Robby said he just spread happiness to everyone he came in contact with. So many people benefitted from being around him. They say although he had plenty of excuses not to be, he was the happiest little boy we could ask for. He had the most infectious smile and giant brown eyes you could ever see. His voice was pure innocence and he was so smart. He loved everything that his big brother had. He loved tractors of all types, colors, and sizes.
Graeme lived a happy full 2 1/2 years before his little body just couldn’t do it anymore and on May 3, 2015 he passed away. And since that day in 2015, his family is committed to keeping his memory alive by raising awareness and funding research through the Children’s Heart Foundation to try and help other families who are dealing with CHD.
That same year they started Graeme’s Run to have a positive way to celebrate their little angel. The McDaniel’s wanted to have an event that brought the community together, told Graeme’s story, celebrated other heart babies, and raised money to support other heart families.
Every dollar raised at the run today goes to the Children’s Heart Foundation, the country’s leading organization solely dedicated to funding Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) research. The mission of CHF is to fund the most promising research to advance the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of CHDs.
That money then goes into a memorial fund in Graeme’s honor and the McDaniel’s get to choose each December what research project that money goes towards, which they consider to special.
Today was another beautiful, successful run and seeing the sea of people out in support of this sweet family was incredible. If it’s one thing Katy knows how to do, it’s come out and support our own. Graeme’s sweet name lives on and he’s continuing to touch people’s lives.
If you’d like to see more of sweet Graeme’s story and learn more about Graeme’s Run click here.