Celebrating BDAM in Massachusetts

Why I Run

By Raegan Olmsted, running the Falmouth Road Race to benefit NEHA.
Posted: August 1, 2023.


Running has always just been a hobby to me, something I was never great at but something that I found to be therapeutic at times. Never did I see myself signing up for a 7-mile road race and training every day, I even bought running specific shoes for this.

I guess you’re probably wondering what my “why” is…

The Page family came into my life about 13 years ago, we met quarter midget racing when Chris and Sarah’s oldest child was about five-years-old. They trusted me enough to watch their kids for years and I grew to love them, and they very quickly became family. It is crazy to think we’ve seen each other through everything in between. Over time, their son, Waylon, has managed to keep everyone on their toes, especially when it came to his health.

I remember Sarah calling my mom (who is a nurse) in the middle of the night, several times to come over and just lay eyes on him. And there I was always right there behind her walking in the door. Little did I know the impact this family and these midnight phone calls would have on my life and the choices I have made for my career.

When Waylon was 4 years old, he went in for a routine tonsillectomy that quickly turned into a major hemorrhage, any parents’ worst nightmare. This was just the beginning of long road of doctors’ appointments and tests, only to, still to this day, be told it is a mystery.

Qualitative platelet dysfunction, with a little bit of spice… genetic tests have concluded that there’s more to it than just that, but so rare that there are no recorded cases of the same condition. They’ve tried everything, different medications, different diets, they’ve endured medical professionals who don’t even begin to grasp the severity, and people who don’t understand just how difficult it can be. They avoid several over-the-counter medications and have to monitor him after just the slights bump or bruise, yet there is absolutely no medical course of action. The only option he has is to receive a blood transfusion after any kind of trauma.

Waylon has had to sacrifice so much in his life, including the sports and activities he loves. Running has been one thing he has been able to continue and push himself in, this is something he will never have to give up. At 26 years old, I could never begin to imagine what it’s been like for Waylon to have to sacrifice the things he loves and yet not even begin to understand why or how to fix it. I could never begin to understand what it’s like for Sarah, Chris, and Waylon’s older brother to have to watch this unfold and still have no explanation. Yet they all seem to keep the same spirit within them, you’ll never see them fall, you’ll never see them hang their heads in defeat.

This family has taught me so much since I met them 13 years ago. Waylon has taught me that I should never give up on the things I can do in this life because not everyone has the opportunity to do it, Sarah has taught me what a strong mom raising stronger sons looks like. Chris has taught me that no matter what, you stand your ground on what you believe in. This family has taught me that facing anything is possible when you don’t do it alone.

I’m running this year because I get to run next to someone who has taught me more in his 11 years of life than any teacher ever has or ever will. I’m excited to run this race with Waylon, and with all of Team NEHA.

Waylon and Raegan (left), Waylon’s brother, Ryder, with Raegan and Waylon (right)