On December 8, 2010 Jesse Lindlbauer was rushed to Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor for care when he was found unresponsive by his mother. At Mott, doctors discovered Jesse suffered a ruptured brain abscess brought on by a sinus infection leaking into his brain. Despite no previous symptoms, Jesse was suddenly fighting brain trauma, meningitis, and other complications brought on by the abscess.
After spending eleven weeks at Mott overcoming an illness that could’ve taken his life Jesse defied all odds and returned home ready to begin his long road to recovery.
Upon Jesse’s return home, family and friends began showing their support by organizing fundraising dinners and selling SuperJess bracelets to help with the hospital and rehabilitation costs. The Plymouth-Canton community heaped on the love for the Lindlbauer family over the following months, providing speech therapy, in-home care, and support for the whole family. From the efforts Jesse’s friend Tommy Halewicz began planning the first SJ5K aiming for 500 participants.
Tommy enlisted the help of NHS Coordinator Beth Savalox and the NHS students at the Plymouth-Canton Educational Park (PCEP) to help make his vision of helping his friend a reality. After months of planning and 100 volunteers, the first SJ5K exceeded many expectations with over 1,800 runners raising more than $45,000 for Jesse’s road to recovery.
The following year it was decided that the event in Jesse’s name would continue on to help other members of the Plymouth-Canton community affected by major life challenges. To date, the SJ5K has raised over $270,000 to assist nineteen families in six years.