Running (and Coaching!) for the Jackson Chance Foundation

A little over a month ago, a friend of mine reached out to me with an interesting proposition. One of her co-workers had put together a charity and wanted to support it by organizing a group to run the Rock ‘n Roll Chicago Half Marathon & 5k on July 20. They wanted someone to coach the group by providing training programs, running tips and leading group runs during the spring and summer. She suggested me and I accepted the offer with Chris Traeger-like levels of unbridled enthusiasm.

Created in 2013, the Jackson Chance Foundation raises funds to help families with critically ill infants in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). In the direst of cases, infants will have prolonged stays in the NICU, each month of which can cost a family up to $1,100 in transportation. The Jackson Chance Foundation aims to alleviate the logistical financial burden of this trying experience by providing complimentary transportation, such as parking, CTA passes or Metra vouchers to families for every day their baby is in the NICU.  The organization has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, the Sun-Times and in various local news pieces.

The foundation is named after baby Jackson, whose short life was spent almost entirely in the NICU. He was born ten weeks early with Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD), a lung condition that can affect premature newborns. Tragically, after ten unfathomably difficult months, baby Jackson passed away. Reading about his short, yet surprisingly happy life was heartbreaking and added a tearful purpose to my commitment.

jackson_chance_rock_roll_charityMy first thought was how specific the cause was. Then I realized that it’s a perfect example of the many unknown financial challenges that come with such a difficult life event. It’s no secret that medical costs can be staggeringly high, and that the insurance industry is going through enormous change, the outcome of which is still uncertain. So it’s nice to be able to help out with such a direct and tangible contribution, one that might mean a family can spend more time looking over their baby.

The Rock ‘n Roll Chicago Half Marathon & 5k will start in Grant Park at 6:30 AM on July 20 and is one of only two half marathons in Chicago to run through the heart of the city. By joining the Jackson Chance Foundation, runners will be offered discounted registration, a dedicated tent before and after the race, fundraising prize opportunities and one to two weekly runs with yours truly.

To register to run with the Jackson Chance Foundation, please click here and follow the instructions on the right.

For more information, please visit the following pages:

Official Site



About Dan
Running a marathon in all 50 states because there's no better way to explore the world around you than on your own two feet, for as long as you can, until you hate yourself and everything around you. Then you stop, get a medal, and start over.

6 Responses to Running (and Coaching!) for the Jackson Chance Foundation

  1. Laszlo says:

    Hi Dan, this is an awesome thing you are going to do!

  2. Mike says:

    There can’t be many more difficult situations in life than, as a brand-new parent, to feel the giddy elation of childbirth immediately give way to fear and heartbreak as your newborn child is rushed off to the NICU. The Jackson Chance Foundation is a great cause, and they couldn’t have picked a better all-in-one spokesperson/evangelist/running coach to support their cause.

    It first dawned on me while TA’ing a lab course in college, that you never really learn a subject until you have to teach it to someone else. So in addition to all you’ll do for the Foundation, I think coaching others will be a terrific learning opportunity, and I’ll look forward to reading about all the lessons learned come July 21.

    As for two Chicago half marathons in two blog posts and in one summer… the Chicago Running Tourism Agency (there IS such an organization, I assume?) needs to hire you pronto.

    • Dan says:

      Yeah, I felt like the timing might have been a little overkill, but that was out of my control. Thanks for the insight — I’m definitely looking forward to the challenges that come with coaching someone through the training cycle and managing whatever unexpected hiccups may come along the way. Plus, it’ll also allow me the opportunity to balance out my coaching duties, racing and training during two key months.

      Two weeks ’till Big Sur — hope your foot hasn’t acted up again.

  3. Dan – thank you for being a part of Team Chance and supporting The Jackson Chance Foundation! We appreciate the support and look forward to “running” with you while helping families with critically ill babies.

    • Dan says:

      Carrie — it’s an honor to have been considered and chosen for this incredible initiative. I’m really looking forward to helping out in whatever way I can.

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