The official blog of the Lung Institute.
The Lung Institute (LI) embraces community philanthropy. There are many examples such as Meals on Wheels, Hope Children’s Home, Joshua House, Habitat for Humanity, Toys for Tots, Trinity Café and Fight for Air Climb. We give and give back to people and organizations in our clinic cities to help improve lives and make our communities better. Sometimes it is the people within our very own LI family who benefit from our kindheartedness.
Dezi Zevin is a physician’s assistant in our Tampa clinic. Her nine-year-old son Drew got the running bug about a year ago after watching Jamaica’s Usain Bolt run in the 2016 Summer Olympics, though Dezi insists he’s been running since birth.
To find an outlet for his desire to run, he joined the Running Tigers, an AAU running club in the New Tampa area, last spring. He started running 400-meter and 800-meter races at local AAU events and did well. He did well enough at the district meet to qualify for the AAU Junior Olympics Regional track and field meet in Tallahassee in June. At regionals, he continued to cruise around the track qualifying in both the 400m and 800m for the AAU National Junior Olympic Games set for early August just outside Detroit.
He and his family were excited about the prospect of running at Nationals, but athletes must pay their own expenses. That would involve flights, hotel, food and other incidentals. Dezi told Drew they couldn’t make the trip without financial help. Drew started a GoFundMe page and raised $500. Dezi was fortunate to find another option. She was talking with LI CEO Jimmy St. Louis, and he knew Drew had been running track and wondered how he was doing. Dezi told him about his success at regionals but that might be the end of the line due to financial reasons. Jimmy, who had run in AAU events in high school, didn’t want them to miss this great opportunity, so he said he wanted LI to help them make the trip.
LI contributed $1,000 and it was enough for Dezi and Drew to afford the trip to the Motor City.
“Having grown up competing in the Junior Olympics, I was so proud to hear about one of our own having the honor to compete this summer,” said Jimmy St. Louis. “Dezi and her family share the same passion for athletics, health and fitness that we do, and LI was proud to sponsor her son as he set out to achieve his goals. We hope that Drew’s memories at the 2017 Junior Olympics will last a lifetime.”
Dezi and family were overjoyed with the donation because it made a dream come true.
“To know your workplace values you enough to invest in your family is an amazing feeling,” said Dezi. “These days it’s often hard to find a company that is so tuned in to its employees.”
Drew only ran the 800m race because it was held in one day. The 400m race had one day of qualifications, three days off, then another day for finals. That was too long a stay.
As for the race, Dezi, being a nervous mom, said her concern was, “that he not false start and not fall.” He didn’t do either. As a matter of fact, while he didn’t win the race, he set a personal best of 2:55.33. Dezi says Drew really loves running, as well as many other sports, but she says he seems to have a talent for distance races. He’s already looking forward to next year.
The Junior Olympic Games attracted more than 15,000 athletes in 18 sports. Almost 900 athletes represented Florida.