Struggling to make it to his first birthday, 8-month-old Gunnar Simpson is currently fighting for his life. Diagnosed with Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards Syndrome, and Klinefelter Syndrome, which are chromosome disorders, these disorders are life-threatening. Suffering since birth, Gunnar has been in and out of hospitals all of his life.
The son of Crystal Simpson, formerly of Harlan County and now of Bell County, his mother said a 5K run/walk has been set for Sept. 2 at 8 p.m. at the Bell County Fairgrounds.
“Proceeds from this run/walk is to help support and fund extra supplies and machines Gunnar needs, hospital stays, doctor visits and much more,” Simpson said. “Gunnar has had several surgeries lately and has been hospitalized twice since late July. He also visits Shriners Children’s Hospital in Lexington on a frequent basis. Gunnar, even at 8-months-old, is such a fighter. He is a loving child, a living miracle and such a joy to all our lives.”
The grandson of Billy Ray Engle Jr., of Catrons Creek, his grandfather said, “Gunnar is the love of my life. Please come out and show your support for my grandson.”
Currently hospitalized at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, in Knoxville, Tenn., Gunnar has four older brothers and one sister. He is the son of Mike Simpson, formerly of Harlan County and now of Bell County, and the grandson of Jenny Simpson, of Tremont.
“Gunnar is such a precious child, he always has such a sweet smile on his face,” said great aunt Hettie Webb, of Catrons Creek. “He is a gift from God. I’d really appreciate the prayers and support from all my Harlan and Bell County friends and family for this 5-K walk/run in Gunnar’s honor.”
Registration fee for the walk/run is $25 with those age 12 and under walking/running for free. T-shirts will be given to the first 100 who register for the event. The first three finishers will be given blue ribbons. The top seven finishers will receive a $15 gift card redeemable at Road ID.com. Calling the run/walk “Light Up the Night and Glow for Gunnar,” glow paint and sticks will be available to purchase at the fairgrounds. Registration forms are available at the Harlan Center and the Pineville Hospital Flower Shop.
“Please come out and show your support for Gunnar,” said his mother Crystal. “Not only will this help Gunnar but it will also raise awareness about these chromosome disorders that affect many children throughout the world. In the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13:13 it says, ‘And now abide faith, hope and love these three, but the greatest of these is love.’ We so appreciate everyone’s love, prayers and support.”
For more information, you may contact Simpson at 606-909-0201 (call or text) or Pam Sturgill at 606-273-2730. You may also visit the Facebook page “Gunnar the Trisomy 18 Warrior” where you can make a donation by clicking on the “Go Fund Me” account.