16-year-old Sebastian Bonaiuto lost his foot to cancer and now he’s raising money to support Inova Children’s Hospital
My name is Sebastian. I’m 16 years old, and on June 3, I’ll be running the StarKid 5K to raise money for Inova Children’s Hospital so that they can help every child and family who walks through their doors.
And I’ll be running the race on one leg.
When I was 14, I was diagnosed with cancer in my left heel bone. I was just about to start my freshman year of high school and begin training to join the track team. But my life completely changed the moment my dad and I were told I had cancer.
I missed my first day of high school and lots of other things that most 14-year olds get to do, but I refused to let cancer ruin my life and deprive me of my favorite thing: running.
Even after months of treatment, and after the amputation of my left foot, I never lost hope–or my passion for running. I couldn’t have mustered the courage or determination to run with only one leg without my dad, and the doctors, nurses, and staff at Inova Children’s Hospital.
I already knew how great Inova was because my dad works there, but I got to experience this for myself when I became a patient. The care and compassion from our team at Inova helped me through some incredibly difficult times. I learned that when you’re a patient at Inova, you gain new family.
My dad and I cannot say enough about the wonderful physicians and nursing staff on the hematology/oncology floor at Inova Children’s Hospital. Not only did they welcome us with open arms, but they never talked past me. They spoke directly to me, answered my endless questions, and helped guide me through the complicated maze of acronyms and treatment schedules, and the emotional and physical toll that cancer took on our family, with such kindness and grace.
We’re also very thankful for the Child Life team, led by specialist Holly Senn at Inova Children’s Hospital. The key word in their job description is “life.” And they do bring life to the floor. They help remind us about life outside the four walls of our hospital room, and that our lives are not defined by our diagnosis. Whether it was a simple visit to chat, hangout and play video games, or share a guitar lesson, Holly and the Child Life team made me feel so special.
It’s because of our Inova family that I’m here today, and it’s why I’ll be running (with my new blade that I just got last week) in the StarKid 5K and Family Fun Run, Sunday, June 3, 2018 at the Fairfax Corner Shopping Center.
My dad and I still get emotional thinking about all we’ve been through together and the amazing care we got at Inova. What they did for our family is no different than what they do for all those battling a childhood cancer diagnosis. We are fortunate to have such a tremendous resource in our community.
Even if you can’t come, you can still support a runner or a team like mine: “Team Seabass.”
See you bright and early on June 3rd!