On November 3, 2019, nine athletes laced up their sneakers, tied on their race numbers and prepared to make history as the first team to run in the TCS New York City Marathon on behalf of the National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF).
The team, Soumar Arzouni, Emily Carr, Dawn Evans, Nicole Kaes, Jessica Ciccolella-Kahl, Renee DeRider, Garrett Hayes, Jennifer Hunt, Michelle Fleming, Carey Lindsey, Lizette Mishiev and Carla Wells, came from across the United States—from as far as Texas and as close as Brooklyn, New York—to raise money and inspiration for people with bleeding disorders. Together, the team raised more than $40,000, which will be used to support the programs and services of NHF. (Out of the 12 team members, nine ran the marathon, but all raised money for NHF.)
The runners all have a unique tie to the bleeding disorders community. Some, like 22-year-old Garrett Hayes, of Plano, Texas, have a bleeding disorder—Hayes has severe hemophilia A. As a member of NHF’s National Youth Leadership Institute (NYLI), a program that teaches leadership skills to young people ages 18 to 24, Hayes has developed a strong desire to show that people with bleeding disorders can achieve any goal they set their minds to. “I want to show that my bleeding disorder doesn’t limit me, and it shouldn’t limit anyone else either,” he says.
Other team members, like Soumar Arzouni, from Silver Spring, Maryland, have a professional connection: Arzouni works as a pharmacist for BriovaRx Infusion Services. She had never done any distance running before and was nervous about the race, but she was determined to support the community she interacts with every day through her work. “I work with hemophilia patients every day, so this cause is very close to my heart,” Arzouni says.
“It’s incredible to see people who are so dedicated to people with bleeding disorders that they’ll run a marathon to support them,” NHF Chief Operating Officer Dawn Rotellini says. “We’re truly honored and inspired by their achievement.”
As Hayes sums up, “If a group of people is willing to run 26.2 miles to support the bleeding disorders community, then there is hope that the human spirit will triumph over bleeding disorders as well.”