Change Makers

Walking the Global 6K in honor of my son

A woman holds an infant and stands next to a man. They both smile in front of a bulletin board filled with drawings.

I found out I was pregnant with twins just a couple months before the 2020 Global 6K for Water®. I registered to walk it because I knew I’d be huge by then, and I sported two 6K bibs in honor of my two little babes cooking. I kept telling these babies one day they’d walk the 6K with me so that other kids won’t have to.

Traumatically, they were born July 10 at 28 weeks — 12 weeks early — and had severe complications of prematurity. So much so that my son, Bennett, died of a massive brain bleed just four days after he was born. Lucille, my daughter, spent 74 days in the NICU fighting for her life.

At this point, I had worked for World Vision for eight years and seen the reality of mothers losing their children every day — in fact, more than 800 children under 5 die every day because they didn’t have access to clean water. But the sting of death never became so real for me until it was my own son that died.

Even deeper compassion for mothers and children

Through months of living in the tension of joy with my healthy, thriving daughter and utter despair over the son we lost, I came to a deeper compassion for the mothers and children I get to serve in my work with World Vision.

Life is a miracle, and a newborn baby can bring unimaginable joy. But death is gut-wrenching, and the cause being something as simple as of lack of clean water — something I have access to at nine different points in my house alone — is just unfathomable. Now I better understand what a mother losing her baby feels like and looks like.

So to honor my son, Bennett, who we lovingly call Benny, I set out a big goal for the 2021 Global 6K — to raise $10,000 so that 200 mothers wouldn’t have to experience the sting of death like me, and that children could LIVE because they have access to one of the most basic necessities of life.

God’s small miracle

World Vision’s Global 6K for Water gives families an opportunity to help equip communities in need with access to clean water.
In 2021, Elizabeth’s family got to walk World Vision’s Global 6K together in honor of Bennett. (©2021 photo courtesy of Elizabeth Botts)

To my amazement, the community that had held up our arms for the past year came through again in an amazing way, and I hit the $10,000 goal. The week before the Global 6K, we got our family’s race bibs in the mail, and to our utter shock, the boy we were walking for was named Beni. Since I lead the Global 6K, I messaged my team immediately and asked who made it happen — and they said no one; it was totally by chance. If that isn’t a small miracle of God, I don’t know what is.

That’s the amazing thing about following a suffering Savior. God intimately knows what loss feels like, but Jesus also knows resurrection. Resurrection of hope, of good overcoming evil, of life prevailing against death. God didn’t destine my son to die but did turn my grief into dancing — even dancing alongside tears through a 6K knowing that 200 children could be saved, that 200 mama hearts would rejoice in the miracle of their children living with clean water.

I hope others mourning a loss do what they need to do to survive. My way was to honor my son by raising money for vulnerable kids. This might be just the thing to ease your burden, help others carry your load, and see the lives of kids literally saved.

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A boy smiles at the camera as he holds a green cup up to his lips.
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Change Makers

On the move with Team World Vision