Our Gracie Girl is such a special part of our lives with her big bright smile and sassy attitude. She has a very large support system within our community and family. She has been diagnosed with PDD-NOS at the age of 4. This is under the umbrella of Autism and is a neurological and developmental disorder. She is struggling with communication skills, auditory ...sensory disorder and learning delays. There is no known cause. No cure has been found yet. And now, age 10, she is in the 4th grade with her loving classmates and teachers that are extremely helpful and supportive to help her reach goals and learn social skills. Gracie has come so far & has touched so many lives with her fun-loving personality. This Fall will be her 5th year as a Pee-Wee Football Cheerleader for the Wilmington Hurricanes. She wants to be like her big sister. Gracie dances at WPAS in the “Free To Be Me” class with special needs children of all ages and will perform in a dance recital at the end of the season. She loves swimming, Disney, Barbie, American Girl Dolls, playing with her Golden Retriever, “Junior” and being outdoors. Her favorite part about playing at the Little Hearts Big Smiles Playground is the blue roller Sensory Slide. It never gets old to her! We are very excited to be part of the next phase to help build the playground. Come join Gracie’s team for the Fun Run 5K and support Little Hearts Big Smiles with funding of the new playground equipment. She will be so excited and Surprised to see everyone. This is a great way for the community to come together for an excellent cause.
Let's hear it for Andrew!! Andrew is returning as a team captain to lead Andrew's Army for the 5K!
Andrew is a ten-year-old boy with a diagnosis of polymicrogyria which is a rare genetic disorder. Andrew loves spending time with his family, boating, swimming, and being out in the community. Andrew was the very first one to try out the wheelchair swing at the Little Hearts Big Smiles Playground. It is by far his favorite along with the sensory boards. Andrew is looking forwar...d to the last phase of the playground being complete so that he will be able to have a piece of playground equipment to play with his brothers at the same time.
Brysen is a 7th grade student at Blanchester Middle School. Brysen LOVES sports. He is very active in both playing and coaching sports with his dad. If there is a ball game going on, rest assured, you can find Brysen there, either on the court or cheering for the Wildcats! At a very young age, Brysen was diagnosed with Global Apraxia. But more recently, Brysen was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. Brysen, his family and friends were very worried for him. On top of having communication needs, they worried if he would be able to understand the complexity of this very serious disease. However, Brysen did not let this get in the way of living his life to the fullest. He is working hard to learn how to manage his diabetes, and is even doing independent insulin checks all by himself at home and at school! Brysen always has a wonderful smile on his face. He is a very special young man to many people.
This will be the first year that Brysen has participated in the Little Hearts Big Smiles 5k walk and run. Watch out for him! He will be leading the pack!!
This little guy has a great show in registrations so far! Meet Zach!
Zachary Wyatt Jewell is the son of Austin and Holley Jewell and loving brother of Ealynn and Connor. Zachary was born at just 34 weeks gestation. After being diagnosed in utero with Gastroschisis, his mothers water broke at 28 weeks. Zachary was born into this world fighting. Gastroschisis is a birth defect, affecting every one in two thousand births. It is an abdominal wall defect that allows internal ...organs to protrude through the abdominal wall. Immediately after birth, Zachary was transported down to Cincinnati Children's and remained in the hospital for 18 days.
At nearly a year old, Zachary was diagnosed with a Cortical Visual Impairment, a visual disorder that stems from a brain injury. After an MRI showed Zachary had sustained loss of oxygenated blood flow in utero. This injury also caused spastic Cerebral Palsy.
Even with everything that he has endured - Zachary remains happy and is constantly smiling (just look at those blue eyes) :)
Those that know him are captivated by his smile and those that do not know him, cannot help but to fall in love.
Zachary is loved by his family, and loved by his community. Even though Zachary cannot talk quite yet, he shows his love without words because love needs no words!
This brother and sister dynamic duo is back! Let's hear it for Team Paxton and Irene!
Paxton loves to play practical jokes on people; the 9-year-old is very bright and is academically on the grade-level of his peers at Clinton-Massie Elementary.
Irene, 3, loves spending time with other children and playing. She enjoys using her toys that she can specially activate with a switch button.
Paxton and Irene both have a rare genetic disease called Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia Type 1B (PCH Type 1B). This is a rare neurological disease that causes their cerebellum to shrink. Due to the small cerebellum, Paxton and Irene are wheelchair bound and unable to speak. But this doesn’t stop either one of them!
Paxton loves being with all of his friends and teachers at school. He loves to swim in his special float at the pool, ocean, or lake. And he loves going to sporting events, especially to watch the Cincinnati Reds. Irene’s favorite toy is a motorized car that she can ride in.
She is currently in an early intervention group at the Aaron W. Perlman Center and is in preschool at Clinton-Massie Elementary. Paxton and Irene love to go to the park and swing together.
Paxton and Irene and the Little Hearts Big Smiles family are thankful to live in such a supportive community. They want to thank you in advance for your support of the LHBS playground and helping all children be able to play together!
Welcome, below you will find information about events that are coming soon.
Our next hero spotlight is Brei!
Brei is a 13 year old 8th grader at Clinton Massie. She has a rare genetic anomaly on her DYNC1H1 gene, Cerebral Palsy, and Polymicrogyria. Brei is very active and loves attending any sporting event at Clinton Massie (especially Varsity Football), going kayaking, spending time at the beach, riding roller coasters, eating pizza or Chick fil A, and spending time with her family.
Brei is one of the original inspirations of the playground project and loves the roller slide most of all. She would love for you to join her team this year!
Welcome Back - Team Captain Abby!
Returning for a 3rd year to our 5k is Abby. Abby is the 3rd year old daughter of Brent and Brooke Achtermann of Wilmington, Ohio. Abby is currently in Pre-School and being taught by Mrs. Weiderhold of East End Elementary. Abby also attends the Perlman Center is Mason for OT, PT, and Speech Therapy.
Abby was born with a rare chromosome disorder that replicated part of her 9th chromosome and deleted material from chromosome 18. Being that Abby is a rare gem - this make up has made her prone to low muscle tone, hearing loss, visual impairment, feeding tube dependencies, and a few other medical complications. However, in knowing Abby she is a happy girl and rolls with the punches!
Abby is loved by many friends and family and has an infectious laugh, gentle smile, and ice blonde hair that would make Queen Elsa jealous!
Abby is ready to recruit for her Army and her other peers joining this year! Sign up for the draft today and join our 5k!
Meet Team Captain Sarah:
Sarah Wertz loves the Cincinnati Reds and the Ohio State Buckeyes. She also loves to watch standardbred horse racing, work puzzles, shop and travel....
Sarah who is 29 was diagnosed at 18 months of age with Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral Palsy is considered a neurological disorder caused by non-progressive brain injury or malformation that occurs while the child's brain is under development. Cerebral Palsy affects body movement, muscle control, muscle coordination, muscle tone, reflex, posture and balance. Also, can impact fine motor skills, gross motor skills and oral motor functioning.
Sarah attends the Person Center Services, Inc. (PCS) two days a week. While there she volunteers in the local community, works at the Center and goes on community outings, She participated this past fall in the production of "When the Last Petal Falls" at the Murphy Theatre. She also volunteers one day a week with JobCom through Goodwill. Some of the locations she volunteers through the program are the Humane Society, the Adult Daycare and the Homeless Shelter. She also receives services through an independent provider where they do community outings and learn daily life skills.
Sarah lives with her mother and grandmother along with Carley, her lab mix and two cats, Sami and Ebony. She also spends time with her father and their two dogs, Bentley and Noah. She attends Fellowship of Praise in Clarksville.
Sarah will have a team of supporters at the LHBS 5K on May 19th which includes family and friends and you are invited to join her team.
Returning for a second year as a team captain is this little ray of sunshine. Everyone - meet Braydyn!
Braydyn is smart, funny, and full of life. He is a 4 year old boy with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, seizure disorder, cortical visual impairment, and dysphagia. He is very excited to spend his summer playing and hanging out with his cousins at the playground. His bubbly personality and huge smile warms all of our hearts. Braydyn is a little warrior!
New Captain Alert! Meet Kaylee!
Kaylee Jones is 10 years old and in Mrs. Dillow's third grade class at Clinton Massie Elementary, where she is often recognized for her hard work and participation. Kaylee is constantly displaying good manners and severs as a positive role model to her peers.
Kaylee was diagnosed with Autism at the age of three and has continually made progress and crossed several hurdles to get where she is today.
Kaylee is very interested in drawing, painting and building Lego's. In her free time, Kaylee enjoys camping, riding 4wheelers, going on hikes and playing outside.
Kaylee is the daughter of Kelly Hopkins and the little sister of Joey Kidder.
Kaylee gets alot of love and support from her family and her Clinton Massie Elementary family along with a special influence in her life, Chris Haidet.
This will be Kaylee's first year of participating the Little Hearts Big Smiles 5k.
Special thanks to our 2018 5K Sponsors
5K Registration is Live!
May 19, 2018
8:00 a.m. registration/10:00 a.m. race will begin
Parking at the County Engineer's office on Fife Avenue
Click here to register online.
To View our Sponsors Click here.
MEET OUR 2018 TEAM CAPTAINS!
Get your 5k shoes ready! We have a new captain who is ready to take off!
Gracin Murarescu is a very active, funny and extremely loving 7 year old. He is the son of Sorin and Jodi Murarescu of Lynchburg and the little brother of Colie Murarescu. Gracin attends New Vienna Elementary as a 1st grader. Shortly after Gracin was born he was diagnosed with Down Syndrome also referred to as Trisomy 21. Down Syndrome can cause developmental delays, low muscle tone, heart issues as well as other physical and intellectual delays.
Gracin has worked hard to be in an inclusive classroom at New Vienna and been involved in many activities and events in the community. Gracin not only loves school but loves to spend time with friends and family, playing t-ball or any outside sport, and counts down the days to sunny adventures at the Little Hearts Big Smiles Park. We have been so lucky to find the Little Heart Big Smiles support group as well as have free access to a play area that Gracin can utilize all equipment and roam freely without concern.
We hope you will join the Racin’ for Gracin team at the Little Hearts Big Smiles walk/run event to benefit phase 4 of the playground.
Little Hearts Big Smiles has added a new captain for its annual 5K race…Will Marler!
Will is an 8th grader at Clinton-Massie and a huge Buckeyes, Bengals and Reds fan. He is active in basketball, tennis, floor hockey and bowling leagues, making lots of friends along the way. Any given afternoon you can find Will either shooting hoops at the school playground or playing Frisbee golf. At birth, Will was diagnosed with trisomy 21, a type of Down syndrome, which is a genetic d...isorder caused by an extra 21st chromosome. The disorder is typically associated with physical growth delays, characteristic facial features and mild to moderate intellectual disability. Will doesn’t let this slow him down though, he’s changing people’s view of Down syndrome and what these kids can achieve!