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Newmarket mom running 260k to thank Southlake’s 'phenomenal' NICU team

Krissy Young is hoping to raise $26,000 for Southlake Regional Health Centre, grateful to this day for the care given when her twin boys were born premature in 2017

When Connor and Kyle entered the world eight weeks premature on May 10, 2017, mom Krissy Young felt like the world was crashing down around her.

Moments after giving birth, her twins were rushed to Southlake Regional Heath Centre’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, hooked up to mechanical ventilation, and intubated. With the NICU team working tirelessly to help her sons grow as strong as possible, it was a difficult day of waiting before she could first hold Kyle, and another five days — fittingly, on Mother’s Day — before she could do the same for Connor.

“It’s tough when you’re a mom and you’re stressed out and you’re worried about your kids,” said Young. “The nurses and doctors aren’t just taking care of your babies. They’re taking care of mom and dad, too.”

By the time Connor and Kyle were able to come home, Krissy and husband Shaun had been blown away by the tireless effort, constant care and endless compassion the NICU’s doctors, nurses and therapists had shown their family and others. The NICU team had, as Young wrote online, “worked miracles”.

“I have two healthy boys because of Southlake,” said Young. “I can never say enough thank yous.”

To thank Southlake Regional Health Centre for its “tremendous gift”, Young has kicked off her second fundraising run, “Baby, I Was Born to Run”, in support of Southlake’s 2021 Nature’s Emporium Run for Southlake challenge. From April 12 to May 9, Young will be running 10 kilometres a day for each of the 26 days her sons spent in the NICU. Her total goal, 260 km, will be equivalent to more than 6 full marathons. Young hopes to raise $26,000 for Southlake, double the goal of her first Run for Southlake fundraiser in 2018.

Donations are being collected through Young’s official Run for Southlake page. The amount raised currently sits at more than $8,700.

Though this year’s virtual Run for Southlake focuses on different topics each week, like nutrition and long-term health goals, Young has chosen to run for the duration of the fundraiser.

“One of the NICU nurses ran. Literally picked Connor up and ran. There was no time,” said Young. “When I say I’m running because they ran for me, it’s because they literally did.”

Young isn’t doing this alone. Her six-year-old son, Liam, is running alongside her, and has set a personal goal of 50 km. A fundraising juice and snack stand run by Liam and sister Charlotte at Newmarket’s Cachet Supper Club, a longtime supporter, was recently cancelled to comply with COVID-19 guidelines.

The run is extra special for the family as it coincides closely with Connor and Kyle’s fourth birthday.

“It’s a family affair,” said Young. “We’re backed with lots of support.”

Apart from “Baby, I Was Born to Run”, Young pays Southlake’s help forward in other ways. Her contact information and birth story are on the side of every isolette in Southlake’s NICU, so that new parents can reach out to her for support. Though her work is currently paused due to COVID-19, she’s looking forward to restarting in the future.

“I would have loved a reassuring person that could say ‘I’ve been here, you will get through this, the baby will be OK, you will go home’,” said Young. “When you’re in there, it’s like you’re in a tunnel.”

Residents can join Young’s “Baby, I Was Born to Run” team by registering online and setting personal exercise goals. Those who wish to track the run’s progress can follow Young’s Instagram page.