Zionsville firefighter will run 240 miles in honor of son born with heart defect

ZIONSVILLE, Ind.– A Zionsville firefighter is raising money for a children’s heart organization in honor of his son.

Caden Coonfield was born on Nov. 13 with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS).

When Zionsville Fire Department firefighter, Robert Coonfield, and his pregnant wife, Aimme, went in for their 20-week check-up appointment, doctors noticed something on the ultrasound.

Aimee went back for more pictures of the baby’s heart, when doctors told the couple that their son had a heart defect.

“It was like hitting a wall,” Coonfield said. “And the buildup from that point of finding out the sex to his birth – we didn’t know what to expect.”

HLSH is a complex birth defect that affects normal blood flow through the heart. Caden’s heart is on the right side of his body.

For babies with HLHS, the left side of the heart can’t effectively pump blood to the body.

Immediately after birth, Caden was transported to Riley Hospital for Children. He will have his second surgery in March.

Although these surgeries are helpful, they are not a complete cure and the Coonfields do not know what life will hold for Caden once he leaves the hospital.

“Between surgeries one and two, it’s super intense with potentially a lot of ups and down,” Coonfield said. “After the second surgery, babies can be completely different. The surgery can really change the heart. We’re hoping that not too far after that surgery, and if he potentially recovers, he can go home. But it all depends on how his body reacts.”

In between working for Zionsville Fire Department and coaching men’s soccer at the University of Indianapolis, Coonfield has found the time and energy to start a running challenge with the aim to give back to an organization that helped him and his family.

This May, Coonfield will run the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in honor of his son, Caden. He plans on running the marathon in full firefighter gear, which weighs over 70 lbs.

“I love running,” Coonfield said. “I was a soccer player in college and just enjoy doing it. I have done it once before in gear, I actually did it for a school. I ran in gear to raise money for them, but this one hits a little closer to come. Caden is fighting and I want to be able to fight along with him.”

Coonfield will run a total of 240 miles as part of his training program. With donations from friends and family, Coonfield will complete the 240 miles. His pledge tiers include:

  • $0.10 per mile – $24 donation
  • $0.20 per mile – $48 donation
  • $0.25 per mile – $60 donation

He is asking that donations go to Mended Little Hearts, an organization that supports children with congenital heart disease and their families.

With every donation received, Coonfield hopes to raise awareness about the organization, raise money for the organization and support his son.

“They have been a huge support to our family and I don’t think we would be able to get through this without them,” Coonfield said. “We are very blessed.”

So far Coonfield has received over $1,000 in pledges, with most of them being $60 or more, and has 208 miles left to run.

For Coonfield, the challenge is about giving back to an organization that helped him and his wife. Early on, Aimee connected with Mended Little Hearts and joined their local support groups. They sent a Bravery Bag and supported her along the way.

To support the Coonfields and Mended Little Hearts, fill out the online donation form. In order for Coonfield to track pledges, check the box next to “Donation in honor/memory of someone.” In the “Acknowledgement type” field, select “In Recognition Of” and then type the name: Caden Coonfield. Use the following mailing address:

ZFD

Attn: Rob Coonfield

PO Box 459

Zionsville, IN 46077