New and returning team captains set to lead Little Hearts Big Smiles event Saturday

3 new captains for Saturday’s event

News Journal

Captain Roman.

Captain Roman.

Courtesy photos

Captain Ryder.

Courtesy photos

Captain Shilo.

Courtesy photos

Three new captains will lead their teams Saturday at the annual Little Hearts Big Smiles Fun Day 5K

at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 18.

All proceeds from this event will go to benefit Phase 4 of the Little Hearts Big Smiles Playground. Phase 4 includes the addition and maintenance of handi-accesible restrooms for children and families.

Along with the returning captains from last year, who News Journal readers were introduced to then, meet the three newest captains in these profiles provided by Little Hearts Big Smiles:

Roman is ready!

Roman is 9 years old and is in third grade at Denver Elementary. Roman has been an A & B student most of his elementary school years. He has an older sister named Scarlett.

Roman has come a long way and used to have intense impulse and aggressive outbursts. He also used to struggle quite a bit to focus on any given task. He loves Legos, the ocean, hands-on science projects, math, video games, time with family and sports — especially soccer and mixed martial arts.

When he grows up, he wants to be an oceanographer. Roman is very empathetic and will be the first to ask if someone needs help, is OK, or if they need a hug. He is also quite the jokester and prankster. Roman has ADHD, sensory and impulse issues — but this does not define him!

Come meet Roman and his team on Saturday

See Ryder’s spirit!

Ryder is 5 years old. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor at 5 weeks old. It was successfully removed with no further treatment required. Ryder also has a VP shunt placed. He was also diagnosed with epilepsy around 6 months old. This is an ongoing battle for Ryder and his family.

In 2017, he had a functional left-sided hemispherectomy (the left side of his brain was shut off) in order to control seizures; while it has helped, it hasn’t completely stopped them. This procedure also caused right side weakness so he has to re-learn to walk, among other things.

He also is blind in his left eye and has only central-to nose-vision in right eye. He also has hearing loss in his left ear. He has gross oral, motor and developmental delays and is semi non-verbal.

However, these challenges have not taken away Ryder’s spirit. Come show your support and meet our new friend on Saturday!

Say hello to Shilo!

Shilo is 7 years old and attend Holmes Elementary. He enjoys going to the park, playing with sisters Sophia and Stella and learning to ride the bike his parents bought for his birthday. And he loves everything about Pokemon.

His favorite thing about school is being outside, playing with friends and running. His favorite food is pepperoni pizza with sweet tea!

Shilo is a very loving and helpful friend. He has overcome so much. School is a struggle for him, but with the help of his teachers and classmates he has come a long way. He was born with torticolis and plagiocephaly. He does his best every day and he refuses to let his disability get in the way.

Shilo was diagnosed with ADHD at 5 years old. He also has SPD. He enjoys his fidget toys, weighted blanket and his favorite thing to do at the park is the rolly slide. Shilo has a helper at school that motivates him to do his best!

Come join the fun Saturday with the new as well as the returning team captains!

Walk or run

This will be a walk-or-run event with prizes going to the top three finishers for both males and females. All of the teams will have a specialty shirt made for the 5K. Joining a team is not a requirement to participate.

Check-in begins at 8:30 a.m. on May 18 at 1400 Fife Ave., with the 5K starting at 10 a.m.

Register for the 5K for a fee of $15, which can be mailed in or paid online. Same-day sign-up for the event will be $20.

To find out more about the 5K and for more information about Little Heart Smiles Big Smiles, visit or find them on Facebook.

Captain Roman. Roman. Courtesy photos

Captain Ryder. Ryder. Courtesy photos photos

Captain Shilo. Shilo. Courtesy photos
3 new captains for Saturday’s event

News Journal