He may have been tiny, but a baby boy who died while he was in the process of being adopted by a Galt couple in 2011 made a huge impact on the city.
He also had a big effect on the University of California, Davis staff, where he was being treated for a congenital heart defect. "Tiny" died in December 2011 following his second open heart surgery; the first was when he was just 10 days old.
Rick Keiser and his wife Jean, who founded the nonprofit tinySmiles in honor of their son, began the process of raising money and holding blood drives to help other children at UC Davis Children's Hospital.
On Saturday, they are holding a family fun run to bring awareness to heart defects. It is the kick-off to National Heart Health Month.
After struggling with the loss of their child, the Keisers decided to establish a commemorative race in Tiny's honor — the Tiny Smiles Half Marathon — to give back to the Children's Hospital, underwrite Mended Little Hearts, a Sacramento-based organization that supports children with congenital heart disease, and fund local Galt high school athletes' physical exams.
The inaugural tinySmiles Half Marathon event will be held from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. It will combine a half-marathon of 13.1 miles starting at 8 a.m.; a five-kilometer race starting at 8:15 a.m.; and a kids' fun run starting at 8:30 a.m.
The race starts at Civic Drive and Chabolla Avenue in Galt and ends at the Galt Fairgrounds. The half-marathon registration fee is $60; the five-kilometer registration fee is $35. Registration closes Thursday; to register online, visit www.tinysmilesrace.org.
A Health Expo will run from 8 a.m. to noon.
TinySmiles already has had other fundraising successes, including holding two blood drives and raising $5,000 for the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit/Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.
Saturday's race sponsors include Fleet Feet Sports of Stockton, Central Valley Physical Therapy, Anytime Fitness, Spaans, General Mills and the Family Life Christian Church of Galt.
For additional information about the race, email Rick Keiser at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 209-329-4692.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at email@example.com