Local Mom Launches Non-Profit and 5K Race for Sick Kids

Local Mom Launches Non-Profit and 5K Race for Sick Kids

by Steve Gamel

Temperatures may have been low, but spirits were high last month as more than 130 local runners came out in droves to support a worthy cause at the first CABDA for Children 5K and 1K Fun Run.

The event, which was held on February 10 at Doubletree Ranch Park in Highland Village, was to support the ongoing efforts of the Children’s Autoimmune Brain Disorder Association, a non-profit aimed at improving the quality of life for children with autoimmune brain disorders such as Autoimmune Encephalitis and Postinfectious Autoimmune Encephalopathy. Lisa Hardy, an Argyle resident whose son suffers from the illness, started the organization in July.

“We consider an event a great success anytime complete strangers will come out early on a Saturday morning to run in brutally cold and windy conditions – the wind chill was 20 degrees – and hang out for three hours,” Hardy said. “With all the support from the community and local businesses, CABDA raised money to help support its goals.”

The event was produced by the Tri Sherpa Multisport team and was led by Archie Salters and Stacey Harris. It was a timed run on a flat, fast course, with the overall winner finishing in just under 20 minutes. The event included music, food, and fun for all participants and volunteers. Some of the sponsors for the event included Groggy Dog, Magnolia Realty in Argyle, Pandas Network, Chik-Fil-A, Canyon Falls, Argyle High School and Middle School and Office Depot.

The special guest speaker was Amobi Okoye, formerly of the Houston Texans. Okoye drove in from Houston to share his own story and recovery from Autoimmune Encephalitis. These illnesses are caused by malfunctions of the immune system in which the immune system attacks the brain causing a wide range of devastating, rapid-onset neurological and psychiatric symptoms. Since initial symptoms of autoimmune brain disorders mimic other illnesses, many children experience delays in proper diagnosis and treatment.

These brain disorders seriously impact the health and well-being of children and significantly impair their ability to function. CABDA’s priority is to advocate for early identification and treatment, so children are restored to health with minimal disability and families are fully supported in the process.

“When we moved here from Georgia in June of 2016, we found it challenging to find a specialist to understand and treat our child’s ongoing, previously diagnosed symptoms,” Hardy said.

She managed to find other parents with similar stories, all struggling to find resources for their children’s health while facing the difficult day-to-day challenges living with these illnesses. This experience made Lisa, a former Surgical Intensive Care Nurse, realize the need to launch the non-profit. She pulled together board members from Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio, Houston, and Austin with a wide range of backgrounds and launched CABDA.

“We believe by focusing our advocacy efforts on awareness, education, and research, while supporting children and families, we will reduce the delay to treatment, thereby minimizing disability and leading to a better quality of life,” Lisa said. “The non-profit envisions a world where all children who suffer the disturbing, rapid onset of an autoimmune neurological illness will receive prompt world-class health care.”

For more information on Children’s Autoimmune Brain Disorder Association, please contact Lisa Hardy at Lisa.Hardy@cabdatexas.org or 940.489.2131, as well as visit the association’s website, www.cabdatexas.org, or Facebook page, www.facebook.com/cabdatexas/.


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