Run for Chief will commemorate Jaden Woodard '18

Run for Chief will commemorate Jaden Woodard '18

The Run for Chief race scheduled for June 15 is a tribute to the remarkable life of Jaden “Jay Chief” Woodard, Class of 2018.

Born with a heart defect, Jay Chief underwent multiple open-heart surgeries by the age of two and eventually needed a heart transplant at the age of 13. Jaden's high school experience at Summit began at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital recovering from the surgery, but this did not deter him from meeting his classmates. Summit students flocked to the hospital to spend time with Jaden and by the time he returned to school, he was already well known and had friends.

"Everyone that was fortunate enough to meet Jaden while at Summit can confirm that he made a positive difference in their lives and the overall Summit community’s," said Michael Marx, a 2020 Summit graduate, Woodard family friend and organizer of the event. "The energy within his laugh, clap, and voice was infectious throughout Summit’s halls. Despite his health challenges, Jaden was able to thrive as a member of the track and field team before attending Ohio State University as a finance major."

In honor of Jay Chief's memory and the countless lives he touched, the Run for Chief race was established in 2023. Michael said the mission is twofold: to celebrate Jay Chief's legacy and to raise funds for children and their families facing similar challenges at the Heart Institute at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Proceeds from the race are directed towards supporting families dealing with pediatric heart conditions.

"We work closely with the staff at Children’s Hospital to provide meaningful experiences and alleviate a small portion of the financial burdens for these families," Michael said.. Examples of the initiatives include organizing all-inclusive outings to Kings Island, providing personalized sports jerseys for patients, and arranging Christmas gift donations for patients and their siblings.

"We would love to see you at Sawyer Point on June 15 to celebrate Jaden’s life and to continue raising funds for the amazing patients at Cincinnati Children’s Heart Institute," Michael said.

To learn more about the race and to register, go here.