Nurse Runs Marathon for Charity

July 29, 2011

Children’s ICU nurse parlays marathon into more than $10,000 to benefit patient families

Deciding to run your first marathon takes lofty aspirations and serious dedication. Running your first marathon on the Great Wall of China? That’s another story. Heidi Morse is a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Medical Center Dallas who recently ran her first 26.2-mile race in China while visiting her father in Seoul, South Korea.

Morse’s dad, Chas Morse, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force, came up with the idea to turn the marathon into a fundraiser. Through grassroots efforts, word-of-mouth and social media outreach, the pair’s efforts far surpassed expectations, raising more than $10,000 to benefit the families of patients at Children’s Medical Center Dallas.

Morse explained that too often, she sees families who don’t have enough money to get to the hospital to see their child, or to buy proper meals during their visit. She wanted to raise money to alleviate those kinds of needs by providing taxi fares, food vouchers and other services not in the hospital’s operating budget.

“I wanted the funds to benefit the families and patients at Children’s,” said Morse. “Making a difference when families are going through a crisis is powerful. I’m on this earth to be an ambassador for the Lord, and I consider my job a 24-7 calling.”

The marathon started out on the Great Wall of China and then took runners through small communities where the village children took pictures and gave them high-fives. At mile 21, the runners hit the Wall again to endure nearly 6,000 challenging steps. Marathon organizers told the runners to add at least an additional hour to their normal marathon time to account for the steep, uneven steps of the Wall.

“The wall was crazy. The whole experience was amazing,” said Morse.

An avid runner all her life, Heidi and her father were used to running races together, but not until her first marathon had she had the opportunity to couple her passion of running with raising funds for her second passion: helping children.

“People like Heidi Morse are what make Children’s such an extraordinary place. They are driven to succeed both inside the hospital and out, and they put the health and comfort of others above themselves,” said Pete Kline, President of the Children’s Medical Center Foundation. “Thanks to Heidi’s and her father’s efforts, the hospital is able to go above and beyond in order to make families more comfortable during a very difficult time.”

Morse finished the Great Wall Marathon in 2nd place for women and placed 7th overall out of 500 runners. Morse, who lives in Euless, said it was an international race, with representation from almost every country.

When asked if she plans to run it again, Morse responded, “You just live one day at a time and see what God has planned.”

Now a part-time trainer at 24 Hour Fitness, Morse has decided to run the Portland marathon in October to qualify for the Boston Marathon in April, and she says she wouldn’t rule out trying out for the Olympics based on feedback she received from spectators of her run in China.

How’s that for aspirations?


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