ELIZABETH—Michael LaMorte of Elizabeth will be running the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 2 for his one-year-old daughter, Olivia Grace.
“My daughter is the bravest baby I know,” LaMorte said. “At the ripe age of three months, she developed a deep tissue hemangioma (tumor) above her right eye. In about six weeks, this aggressive non-malignant tumor became the size of a tangerine. It was forcing her eye closed with limited visibility. We had it removed at St. Lukes Hospital in NYC.”
Olivia is now doing fine with no reported visual problems. The scar under her eyebrow is barely visible, LaMorte said.
“During our stay at the hospital, my family and I met two other families with children who were undergoing 16 hours of surgery to remove facial deformities caused by hemangiomas,” LaMorte continued.
LaMorte plans to run in the New York City Marathon as part of the New York Road Runners Foundation Team For Kids, an international community of adult runners who raise funds for NYRR Foundation. The foundation’s running-based fitness and character building programs now serve 30,000 children a week in almost 200 New York City schools and community centers and an additional 30,000 children a week in more than 50 sites nationally and internationally.
“By the time spring came around, I decided I would join Team for Kids and dedicate my training and this year’s marathon to my daughter and the other two kids we met in the hospital Sydney and Hunter,” LaMorte said. “As soon as I cross the finish line, I am going to give Olivia my medal. My wife and I plan to hang it in her bedroom.”