Two Harbors Woman "Running For Babies"

By KBJR News 1

June 17, 2011 Updated Jun 17, 2011 at 11:46 AM CDT

Two Harbors, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -- Some people run Grandma's marathon as a personal goal, others, as a way to get in shape. A Two Harbors woman however, is running for newborns.

LeAnn Wallace puts us in touch with a mom whose twin babies had to fight for their lives...and now she wants to help other families going through the same crisis.

As four year old Clara makes strides to walk on her own...her mom is running full–speed ahead.

Jill Gebeck gave birth to twins 24 weeks premature and as a result, both have cerebral palsy.

Clara and Jackson spent the first four months of their little lives at Essentia Health's Newborn Intensive Care Unit.

"It really became their first home and it became our home too and so we always look for a way to pay them back for all the great service they provided and love and care they've given our children."

Jill decided to show her gratitude by raising money and taking pledges as she trained for the Gary Bjorklund half–marathon.

"I think we all know someone who's had a child in the NICU, if not for a day or two, a week or two, or a month, or four months it's you know, the only one north of the Twin Cities and it's something that's really needed."

Essentia Health's SMDC Foundation is raising funds to build a new NICU that would allow for better care, family bonding, and greater efficiency for staff.

"I wanted to raise about $1,500 dollars and I think I'm pretty close to that."

With twins and a seven year old, finding the time to train for a half–marathon can be tricky.

"I have wonderful people come to help me watch the kids, we call them personal care attendants and they allow me to leave the house from time to time to get that done so I'm pretty fortunate."

Clara and Jackson go to therapy three or four days a week...Jill says they're doing well.

"They're making nice progress and everybody's really excited for them, I'm really excited for them, they're coming right along."

The entire family will be waiting in Canal Park on Saturday to watch Jill cross the finish line.

Other runners caught word of Jill's idea and also decided to seek pledges.

Essentia Health's SMDC Foundation is set to match the funds raised.

If you'd like to donate more information can be found here: