Today, Jack is so active he didn’t need to change much in his routine to prepare for the mini-triathlon. Jack plays ice and roller hockey, and Little League baseball for his hometown of Franklin Square. He loves to swim in his backyard pool, which he jumped into frequently to train as the race day neared.
“Here is a kid who is living a normal life, after once being told there was nothing that could be done,” says Dr. Bacha. “The fact that he is playing ice hockey and completing a kids’ triathlon tells us it is a complete success. These are the cases we live for and keep us going. When we see Jack doing so well, it makes us even more energized to help the next baby we see.”
Jack and his cousin, Michael, also 6, do nearly everything together, and decided they’d take on the triathlon. The boys wanted to do it for their uncle Michael Kiefer, a firefighter who was killed on Sept. 11, 2001, just days after completing a triathlon.
“I wanted to make my uncle Michael proud of me,” says Jack.
After the race, Jack and his family headed to Red Mango to celebrate with Jack’s favorite dessert — cookies-and-cream frozen yogurt with sour gummy worms on top.
“There aren’t enough words to describe what Dr. Bacha means to us,” says Lauren. “He gave us our son. If it weren’t for him and his skill and knowledge and the care that Jack was given during his recovery, he wouldn’t be here doing this.”
Jack’s triathlon medal now hangs on his bedroom shelf, alongside his roller hockey trophy. Lauren anticipates more awards for victories to come.
“We’re going to need to build more shelves in his room,” she says.