Run for a Reason 2017

The Tiger Trot RUN FOR A REASON is Saturday, September 9. Click Here to register for the run and place shirts orders. Minium pledges of $25 for individual runners and $50 for families are due event day.

Pledge Sheet


INSTRUCTIONS for registration and shirt orders. YOU DO NOT NEED TO BECOME A MEMBER OF THE Y TO BE A PROGRAM PARTICIPANT! Please follow these instructions when registering. If you have questions, please feel free to REGISTER AND ORDER SHIRTS OVER THE PHONE! Call the Massillon Family YMCA at 330-837-5116.

This unique 5K (3.1 mile) Run/Walk and 1 Mile Fun Run is focused less on speed and more on positively IMPACTING OUR COMMUNITY with friends & family to raise awareness of two charitable causes! Community members of all different ages, shapes, sizes, and speeds are welcome! All proceeds from this event will be split evenly between the Alaina Zehnder family and the YMCA of Western Stark County Annual Campaign.


Alaina Zehnder's Journey with KBG Syndrome

Kylie recalls throughout her childhood, dreaming of the day of having a daughter of her own. Her prayers were answered in June of 2013 when she and her husband, Scott, were blessed with a beautiful little girl they named Alaina.

It wasn’t an easy beginning however. Since birth, Alaina dealt with many obstacles. At two weeks old and two months old, she was hospitalized for complications with eating and digestion. She also had a hole in her heart called VSD that thankfully healed at nine months of age. She endured two blocked tear duct surgeries as well as having tubes placed in her ears. Complications such as these led to a merry-go-round of appointment visits and unanswered questions.

Alaina also wasn’t reaching certain developmental milestones like other children her age. When her second birthday came and went without her uttering any beginning words, cause for concern grew. However, Kylie being fluent in sign language, taught Alaina signs so she would be able to communicate with those around her.

Still, the questions that they had as parents didn’t go away. After multiple blood tests, the answer finally arose. Kylie and Scott came to find that their beautiful little girl had a rare disease called KBG Syndrome. And at that time, only around 60 people in the world were reported to have it.

Though devastated by the results, her parents were thankful for the ability to put a name to what Alaina was experiencing and with that, came the ability to manage her symptoms.

It was on her third birthday that she began to articulate her first word; “da” for daddy. Kylie remembers tears of joy on that day. After that, Alaina’s language began to slowly form through using word approximations which are sounds that are close to the actually word but not quite.

Now currently four years old, you’d never guess that Alaina had any trouble with speaking earlier in her life. She can be heard singing her way around a room or chatting with anyone in earshot.

Her mom contributes speech therapy and the YMCA to her incredible improvement.  

“Maria Kline (YMCA Child Care staff member) was with her since the time she was a baby,” Kylie explains, “I remember she would walk her through the hallways to try to calm her.” Maria recalls those days as well. “She was a very sick baby,” she says. Each time Kylie brought her into Child Watch so she could exercise, Maria would make a special effort to work with Alaina one-on-one. She learned sign language in order to be able to communicate with little Alaina and in time, helped to initiate interaction between her and other children in the room. “She was there from the beginning,” Kylie says with admiration towards Maria.

Looking back on where Alaina began to how far she’s come now, there’s no doubt of the blessings that have taken place along the way. Moments such as the time she was brought home after getting tubes placed in her ears in order to hear clearly. The sight of her squatting down, laughing hysterically at the sound of their dog lapping up water in its dish is just one of many precious moments that Kylie and Scott hold dear.  

Though the journey for them still holds its challenges. Alaina currently has five different specialists that she visits regularly and at least two more doctors that’ll be added to the list in the coming years.

While there are some physical characteristic traits that coincide with KBG syndrome, Kylie affirms that there’s so much more to it than just appearance. There’s things that most people would never think of such as extremely picky eating. There’s only about 6 foods that Alaina will eat. Because of this factor, those with more extreme cases will often become malnourished and require feeding tubes.

Anyone who has ever experienced having a child with disabilities or health conditions, knows the heartache that can be felt at times. When asked what has been the biggest factor that’s helped along the way, Kylie replies, “First and foremost – God.” She’s thankful to those from her family’s church, Liberty Baptist, who have played an extraordinary role in providing support and encouragement when they’ve needed it most.

Kylie then lists the Massillon Family Y. This non-profit organization has offered Alaina a safe place where she can grow and learn, especially throughout those most difficult beginning years of life. Now as a chatty and spirited four year old, Alaina enjoys attending swim class every Saturday and may sign up for tee ball and gymnastics as well. “The programs that were offered for her have really helped her social skills,” her mom says. Once withdrawn and uninterested in playing with other children, Alaina is now a social butterfly wherever she goes.

Coming this September, the Massillon Family YMCA will be teaming up with the Zehnder family to offer those in the community a 5K called, “Run for a Reason” in honor of Alaina. Through this event, Kylie aims to raise awareness of KBG syndrome and illustrate to others that each person, no matter what, is beautifully made. “God makes no mistakes,” she resolves, “He made Alaina perfect.”

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalms 139:14