“We were on vacation in Amelia Island. The kids were playing in the field. The next thing you know, they called us over,” remembers Laura Moran, with tears in her eyes. “They had gotten themselves into the letter J.”
It was a touching memorial to their brother, Johnny Moran, who died at age nine in 2016.
“He was born in 2007 with Wieacker-Wolf Syndrome,” says Laura.
Due to that neuromuscular condition, Johnny was wheelchair bound, he couldn’t talk or play with his four siblings.
“He was in and out of the hospital on a regular basis.”
Neighbors were always there to lend a hand.
“We wanted the opportunity to give back,” says Johnny’s dad, Dan.
So he, Laura and two friends started Johnny’s Jog, a St. Patrick’s Day themed 5K.
“There’s two bands, leprechauns, bag pipers, face painting,” explains Dan.
The fun event raises funds for three organizations: The Miracle Leage of Connecticut, the Molly Ann Tango Memorial Foundation and Covenant Preparatory School of Hartford. Since 2011, the jog has raised $344,000.
The Morans believe helping others – through the jog – is Johnny’s legacy along with opening eyes. No matter what, Johnny was always smiling. A simple lesson for all of us – about perseverance and perspective.
“You’d see Johnny and this beautiful spirit and great attitude and you’re like, ‘What am I feeling sorry for myself for?’ This kid just motivated us and everyone around him, too,” says Dan.
“We lost him but he left us with so much,” adds Laura. “We feel like he was bigger than life – and that stays with you.”
Johnny’s spirit will be very much present – at the 9th Annual Johnny’s Jog, taking place in West Hartford on March 24th.
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