charity miles

Charity Miles Champion: Mark Weissenger

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Mark Weissenger is a dad of two, a half marathoner, a coffee lover, and an advocate for Critical Congenital Heart defects (CCHD). This is his story of finding fitness while dealing with his son Owens life threatening defect.

I downloaded the Charity Miles app in January. I began logging, walking, and running miles. A few weeks ago I competed in my first half marathon, the Canyonlands Half in Moab, UT. I ran a 2:09:18! This year’s half was the 40th anniversary of that run, and as I’d just turned 40 in December, it was a numerically fitting impetus for me to get up, get moving, and lose some of the weight. By the end of the training, I had lost ten pounds!! 

I really appreciate the concept of an app that gives charitable donations for miles run/walked/biked. The fruition of its application, and the reach to active people via a smartphone app is revolutionary. I am eager to regain a higher level of fitness (now the father of two boys, 5 and 3) that I’ve missed over the last few years. It feels good to know my personal health improvement(s) can also benefit others through donations to charities. Thanks to Charity Miles for linking hopeful people like me to companies and corporations who make functional donations to charities.


My second boy, Owen (pictured above) was born with a Critical Congenital Heart Defect (CCHD). His CHD was discovered on his fourth day of life when his fetal blood path from the heart to the lungs was closing up. He would not have lived into his 5th day had his, Tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia not been discovered, promptly treated, and surgically repaired. In short, he had no anatomical path for blood to flow from his heart to his lungs. He received his life-saving open-heart surgery at 10 days old. 


He celebrated his 3rd birthday this past January!! He is a lover of life, all smiles all the time, deeply touches all who meet him and he can ride a pedal bike (even his nearly 5-yr old brother’s 16″ bike) without training wheels!! I’ve even written Strider Bikes a testimonial for this awesomeness.


In order to raise awareness for CHD I have created a Charity Miles team #CHD Awareness, please feel free to join and start logging your miles.

Owen’s heart condition is the biggest realization that life is just too short, fragile, and important to not be present for. We all need to take active participation in our health and fitness. It is how we achieve overall wellness. Being healthy can also enable us to share and give to others. I am not only going to be a healthy dad for my boys but for the world. 

Thanks to Mark for sharing your inspiring story of fitness later in life and opening our eyes to this debilitating defect. Please join Mark’s team #CHD Awareness, and remember #everymilematters #charitymiles

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