WACO, Texas (KWTX) Everyone has their own reason to do a triathlon. For some it’s the need for competition. For others it's an opportunity to push themselves further than they thought possible. For Madeleine Harrison and her son Keegan of Plano, it’s about pushing those boundaries while also raising awareness for people in need.
“Keegan was born with a congenital heart defect, and received a heart transplant when he was seven days old,” said Harrison. “At that time it made him the youngest and smallest in the state of Texas and the smallest in the country.”
Keegan is now 11 years old, but still suffers from an immune disorder that has caused strokes. He is also in kidney failure, and is dependent on IV nutrition. But despite facing that adversity Madeleine wanted make sure Keegan was included in the activities her family enjoys doing, like racing. So along with her husband, Madeleine started “K's for Keegan”, a group running in honor of Keegan while also raising awareness for organ donation and transplants.
“We wanted to make sure that he knew that if we were doing something, and he wanted to do it, we would make it happen,” said Harrison.
While Madeleine and Keegan started this journey by running road races together, they recently moved to triathlons as a new means of raising awareness. With TriWaco being only their second triathlon together. Madeleine swam, biked and ran all with Keegan in tow.
“So many athletes were cheering for him, and calling his attention out, and telling him he was running really well, and doing all these things that it really brought him back and made him really feel what it means to be in a community like this,” said Harrison.
Even though the journey has and will continue to be difficult, the message is worth spreading.
“There are kids that wait months and years for that lifesaving transplant, and there are adults that do the same thing,” said Harrison. “They are fighting with everything they have to live and it's really important that if you can, we give them that chance.”
If you wish to help those in need of organ transplant you can go to donatelife.net