Running for Reese 5K raises funds for middle schooler

HARRINGTON – Reese Lohman is a typical 13-year old middle schooler.

The Smyrna Middle School student is an avid athlete, participating in cross country, wrestling and baseball as he prepares for high school next year.

Back in late-January, however, Reese faced an unforeseen medical issue.

In late January, he was diagnosed with acute encephalitis.

“He came down with strep throat in the middle of January or so,” his father, Chris Lohman, said. “He was just getting over that and had a bad migraine headache on a Monday. We took him to the doctor that Tuesday. He went to school later that day, and he just wasn’t feeling too good when he came home later that day. He started having uncontrollable mouth movements and my wife took him back to the doctor first thing that Monday morning. They couldn’t figure out what was going on, so we took him over to the emergency room where they took a CT scan, blood test, urine test, etc. Still couldn’t figure it out so they ambulanced him up to A.I. They did an MRI late that Wednesday evening and found swelling in his brain – encephalitis. At that point he was admitted into A.I. That was about January 26, a Thursday. He was immediately admitted as a full-time in-patient at their PICU. He was there for 75 days and wasn’t discharged until April 11.”

After being discharged from A.I. in April, the Lohman family immediately went on vacation to give Reese a break from everything.

Smyrna Middle School student Reese Lohman is an avid cross country runner, baseball player and wrestler (Special to The Journal).

On April 24, he began an intensive five-day-a-week out-patient program consisting of speech, physical and occupational therapy.

“From the very beginning we, thankfully, had a very strong support system,” Mr. Lohman said. “I’m a high school teacher up at Middletown. So between my building, Smyrna Middle School and W.T. Chipman – my wife is a para-educator at Chipman – between our three buildings we received very strong support, donations and cards from the very beginning.”

As the recovery progressed, the idea for a fundraiser began to build up and eventually came to fruition at the end of May.

A group put together the “Running for Reese 5K,” which took place at W.T. Chipman Middle School Sunday, May 28.

“I think they totaled close to 150 runners across all of the age brackets,” Mr. Lohman said. “And that’s not taking into account all of the ‘Silent Heroes’ who donated but didn’t run or walk in the event.”

All of the proceeds of the event went towards the Reese Lohman Medical Fund.

The Lohman family is expecting a full recovery from Reese, so Mr. Lohman doesn’t expect the Running for Reese 5K to turn into an annual event.

“His long-term recovery is anywhere from six to 12 months,” Mr. Lohman said. “Right now he’s up, he’s walking, talking. Most of it’s cognitive now, as far as regaining skill and speed of skills. There’s no reason to expect it won’t be a full recovery in the long run.”

Patrick Hoffman, 49, of Frederica, ended up finishing first in the 5K run, turning in a time of 18:37.4.

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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