‘Rolling for a Reason’ set for child with spina bifida

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 14, 2012

Just because SaraGrace Martin is wheelchair-bound, it doesn’t mean she isn’t going places.

The 11-year-old fifth grader at Pleasant Home was born with spina bifida, but she doesn’t let it slow her down from doing the things she enjoys, like playing outside and fishing, her mother said.

“SaraGrace is very independent and outgoing,” Teresa Martin said. “We have raised her just like her two other sisters. She doesn’t let things bother her. I think things bother me more than her, to tell you the truth.”

The Martin family was chosen as the latest family to benefit from a group of Pleasant Home residents whose 5K “Running for a Reason” fundraising events have helped two families to date. Only this time, they’ve modified it a bit – calling the event “Rolling for a Reason” in honor of SaraGrace, said organizer Leigh Newby.

“Dealing with the expense of traveling back and forth to the doctor can be difficult on a family,” Newby said. “This is the community’s way of helping ease that a bit.”

This 5K will be held on Sat., April 21, at Robinson Park. The run begins at 9 a.m. There is a $20 registration fee. There will be hamburger plates on sale for $5 each and the Shepherd family will provide entertainment. Registration is available on line at www.active.com or by calling Newby at 222-3874 or Kerri Kelley 222-3746.

Proceeds will be used to help offset travel expenses for the Martin family as they travel back and forth to Birmingham.

“People look at her in the wheelchair and see a beautiful girl,” Martin said of her daughter. “But there’s a lot of stuff underneath that people don’t know about – her shunt, her catheter, stuff like that. She looks perfectly healthy.”

Recently, SaraGrace underwent the 20th surgery of her life. Martin said it was to replace am 11-year-old shunt used to alleviate hydrocephalus, or water on the brain.

“When we went in to have it replaced, we had every complication you could think of,” she said. “SaraGrace was in the hospital eight days in Birmingham. There we were, me and her oldest sister in the hospital room with her, and her dad traveling to see her. Thankfully, we are down to check ups, but it hit us pretty hard financially.

“To think that these wonderful people want to do something to help us, it makes me thankful we live in a community where things like that happen,” Martin said.