Overcoming Challenges with the Amy Thompson Run
In September 2014, a friendly rivalry game between the Olathe East and Olathe South football teams was in its third quarter. James McGinnis, senior and starting linebacker at Olathe East, had just completed a tackle and was getting into position for the next play. But not long after, members of both teams were kneeling around James, who had collapsed in the middle of the field.
Although I wasn’t there that night, my son went to the same high school and I can imagine this moment: the crowd and the other athletes watching in shocked silence, waiting for an “everything’s OK” or, at the very least, a sign of movement from his motionless body. As an ambulance drove James away, all witnesses were reminded of how fragile a human life can be. I can picture his family sitting in the waiting room during his emergency surgery, faced with a 14-percent chance of survival from damage and bleeding around the lining of his brain.
An Inspiring Example of Courage
Nearly two years later, James has proven that, despite our vulnerability, humans can also be quite resilient. After countless tests, a five-day medically induced coma, and endless rehab, James continues his recovery with an impressively positive outlook. Just five months after that fateful night, James was honored at an Olathe East basketball game where he made his first appearance at the school since his accident, and last fall he was able to walk 30 yards from the spot at which he collapsed to the sideline of the football field without any assistance. As time progresses, he continues to persevere.
While my son and I don't know James personally, we've all been inspired by his courage. As our friends and neighbors joined the effort to help James and his family throughout his recovery, we were also honored to be a part of such a close, caring community. It seems all of Kansas City has been touched by James’ story.
In fact, the Kansas City-based Amy Thompson Run has selected James as its 2016 honoree in recognition of his positive outlook and incredible resilience.
A Community of Support
Amy Thompson’s warrior spirit was very similar to that of James. After suffering two shots to the head in an attempted robbery one Halloween night, Amy miraculously survived for more than three years following the incident. Amy’s legacy is especially close to the hearts of her siblings, many of whom lead Country Club Bank today. Her relatives and friends all remember her as someone who, despite the circumstances, conquered each day with an unwavering mission to improve the world with her example of faith and positive tenacity—and she certainly did. Since the first race in 1988, the Amy Thompson Run has grown from hundreds to thousands of participants, and has raised close to $2 million to help people with brain injuries.
This year marks the run’s 29th anniversary, and I will be there to offer support for James McGinnis, the Thompson family, and the millions of others with similar stories. It really warms my heart to see an entire region come together for such a great cause, and is just another example of the type of community I'm proud to be a part of.
Marla Youk serves as a senior vice president and the director of marketing for Country Club Bank. Tweet to her @CountryClubBank or share your thoughts on the Facebook page!