Former heart patient runs half marathon for little boy - New York News

Former heart patient runs half marathon for little boy

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) -

Thousands of runners are prepping for the PF Chang's Rock 'N' Roll marathon and half marathon.

One runner is running 13.1 miles for someone special all to help benefit Phoenix Children's Hospital.

Maya Thode is spent one morning at Phoenix Children's Hospital handing out cookies and smiles, thanking each nurse and doctor for taking care of her.

"I was actually a patient at Phoenix Children's Hospital about a little over a year ago and I came in for open heart surgery and I knew I wanted to be a part of giving back," said Thode.

And she is giving back in a big way, raising money for Miracles in Motion, the sports training and fundraising program for PCH.

Her goal is $1,000 and she is running in honor of 3-year-old Tyler. He's her MVP: Most Valuable Patient.

"Tyler has leukemia and has been battling leukemia and so I was paired with him and I was just really excited to have another patient to be paired with and to talk with and to run for," said Thode.

This is her second marathon in a little over a year. She underwent open heart surgery in august of 2012 to repair a hole in her heart. Post-recovery she began doing small distance races and eventually worked herself up to the Chicago half marathon and now the PF Chang's Rock 'N' Roll half marathon.

"I feel so great and so energetic it's just really awesome to feel this way. I never knew, I was always so tired and now I feel so energetic and rejuvenated and ready to do anything," said Thode.

Tyler's mom couldn't be more thrilled with the idea of Maya running for her boy.

"I think it's so wonderful. I can't think of a better cause to be running for. I think it's so wonderful that she herself was a patient and it's even closer to her heart. It means a lot to us," said Jennifer Stahlecker, Tyler's mom.

As for Tyler's prognosis, he will continue with the maintenance phase of his treatment, but is doing wonderfully.

And Maya isn't slowing down anytime soon.

"I definitely hope to do more in my future. I  eventually want to run a full marathon, but I know it will be awhile until I'm ready for that," said Thode.

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