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Neighbors: Marathon in Florida special for boy with ND connections

Fargo’s marathon in May was a major event for thousands of people. But there was another marathon in Orlando, Fla., that was special for a young boy with North Dakota connections.

He’s Brody Morrow. Because of him, three family members ran in the Orlando event.

Let’s line up Brody’s family for you, thanks to Janice Lee, Enderlin, N.D., who sent in a newspaper story about them written by Janice’s sister, Deb Jordet.

It starts with Bev and the late Sam Robertson, Enderlin. Bev is a sister of Janice and Deb.

The Robertsons’ daughter, Lynette, a 1976 graduate of Enderlin High School, and her husband, Bill Bushnell, live in Cape Coral, Fla.

The Bushnells’ daughter, Blake, and her husband, Jake Morrow, live in Wisconsin. Brody is Blake and Jake’s second son.

When Brody was born and given newborn tests, he was red-flagged because his blood count was so low.

He underwent tests for 10 months, and finally was diagnosed as having ataxia-telanglectais, or A-T. Brody, Deb wrote, was the first ever to be diagnosed with the disease with newborn screening.

A-T is a disease that combines the worst symptoms of muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis and cancer. Children with A-T usually are confined to wheelchairs by age 10 and often do not survive their teens.

But Brody’s family wouldn’t give up. “They believe in miracles,” Deb wrote.

Family pulls together

As a way of showing family support for Brody, three members of his family ran in the Orlando marathon in January. They were his aunt, Kelsi Morrow, and yes, his grandpa and grandma, Bill and Lynette.

To pay for their marathon expenses, the family gathered last Thanksgiving as a fund-raiser. How many showed up? A whopping 98. No wonder they had to use the Enderlin Fire Hall for the event.

Forty-eight people brought baskets and items for a silent auction. “What fun everyone had to outbid the other one!” Deb wrote.

The bottom line: $1,200 was raised.

Then it was on to Orlando, where Bill and Lynette ran with more than 10,000 runners in the 10K race, and Kelsi and Lynette did the half-marathon.

In the 10K, Lynette said the last mile was getting “a little tiresome” and she was getting pretty well worn out until she saw a man up ahead holding a sign saying, “Remember what you are running for!”

That did it. She picked up the pace. For Brody.

The little guy, now 2, is doing “as good as can be expected,” Janice writes.

But that Thanksgiving Day, as Deb wrote, when the whole family gathered to raise funds for the race as a tribute to him, everyone went home “with a prayer for a miracle, full bellies and thankful we were able to help sponsor a great cause.”

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email