Running Miles to Deliver Smiles with AdventHealth Orlando

In February 2022, Starlight traveled to Orlando, Florida to participate in the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend and represent as the event’s official celebrated charity. It was a weekend of magical fun for all who participated.

For two employees at our partner hospital AdventHealth Orlando, though, it meant even more.

For Morgan, Senior Manager of Rehabilitation, it was a moment to celebrate her resilience through the ups and downs of the pandemic. On top of a global health crisis impacting every aspect of her life and work, Morgan was 15 weeks pregnant with her first child when she abruptly lost her mother to cancer in 2020. Work became an escape from these trying moments, despite the draining experience of being a healthcare worker.

The challenges didn’t stop there. Just a few weeks before the half marathon, Morgan found out that her father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

“I considered backing out because I did not have the mental or physical strength to run 13.1 miles. Then I saw the [race] theme was Mulan — the princess who wanted to take her ailing father’s place during a war. Was that fate? I couldn’t back out!”

Despite all the stress she faced and moments that felt out of her control, Morgan focused on the joy she felt running a race in honor of her loved ones.

Morgan, Senior Manager of Rehabilitation at AdventHealth Orlando

I ran the race with joy and pride because I COULD DO IT and I am grateful.

- Morgan, Senior Manager of Rehabilitation at AdventHealth Orlando

Alyssa, Patient Experience Supervisor at AdventHealth who also ran for Starlight, faced her own challenges leading up to race day. Along with the surprise of being gifted the chance to run the Disney Princess Enchanted 10K for Starlight, Alyssa got another surprise when she found out she was pregnant a month before she was set to run!

“I cannot express how grateful I am that I had the opportunity to run in the Princess 10K! I am so excited to tell my new little one that they got to run their first Disney run with mommy before they were even born!”

With a baby on the way, Alyssa couldn’t train like she normally would for a race. Still, she knew how fortunate she was to be in healthy physical condition, even after a car accident that caused years of back pain. Nothing could stop her from running this race!

"My husband teases me that running alone at 5am is the happiest he has ever seen me. Thank you so much for this opportunity, I plan to run again next year after baby too!”

The event was so much fun and helped us deliver happiness to more than just hospitalized kids this year. It was so fun, in fact, that we will be back in Orlando for the Disney Princess Half Marathon in 2023! For more information or to fundraise in support of Starlight, please email We can’t wait to see the magic 2023 has in store!

Alyssa runDisney Marathon

Add a little happiness to your inbox

Sign up to receive periodic updates on Starlight kids, hospital stories, and resources.

More Stories