For Lisa Kiser, clinical instructor at the University of Arizona College of Nursing, her passion for nursing, her love of running and her commitment to gun violence prevention have culminated in achieving a new goal this month.
On Nov. 1, she ran the New York City Marathon on behalf of Dylan’s Wings for Change, a foundation named for Dylan Hockley, a 6-year-old boy with autism who was a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Kiser raised $3,000 for the foundation, which is committed to helping children with autism and other related conditions achieve their full potential.
“We are all well or not well in the context of our communities and our environment and our society,” said Kiser. “Autism is an emerging health issue, and helping support the children and families impacted by it felt right to me.”
As a gun violence prevention advocate, Kiser says Sandy Hook was a turning point for her.
“On top of everything else, for this child with autism to go through this horrible experience, there are not even words to describe it for me,” said Kiser. “And the fact that his personal caregiver lost her life trying to save his, there’s a huge part of me that wanted to honor that.”
Although many consider gun violence a political issue, as a nurse, Kiser believes it has become a public health issue.
“It truly is an epidemic like other epidemics,” Kiser said. “Almost as many Americans die every day from gun violence as from car accidents now. No one should have their life taken from them, and not in this way, not when it’s preventable.”
For Kiser, a dedicated runner of 35 years, it was her first marathon. She began training in June, running five days a week. In July, she began lengthening her runs and in August, adding hills, even though Tucson temperatures were in the triple digits. But despite the challenge, Kiser knew that the people she was running for had endured much, much more.
“Running the marathon is not going to be easy,” Kiser said before the race, "but it’s not the hard thing.”
About the University of Arizona College of Nursing
At the University of Arizona College of Nursing, our faculty envision, engage and innovate in education, research and practice to help people of all ages optimize health in the context of major life transitions, illnesses, injuries, symptoms and disabilities. Established in 1957, our college ranks among the top nursing programs in the United States. For more information: www.nursing.arizona.edu