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Running for Families
IOWA CITY, Iowa (CBS 2/FOX 28) - Around 900 people ran in the 30th annual now called 'Red Shoe Run' in Iowa City this morning to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House.
The house finds and supports programs to improve the health of kids. They also provide a home away from home when families need a place to stay while their loved one is in the hospital.
"This is a nice way to celebrate our families," Executive Director Kristin Roberts said. "We're able to get back together and remember those times together and celebrate what they've been able to
But today, two families ran with a grateful heart.
3-year-old Blake was born with a kidney failure. Doctors told his family that he would need to find a donor to survive.
"It's definitely something that's not easy," Blake's dad, Aaron Burdolf said.
And something that the Burdolf's didn't think would create a lasting friendship.
Steph Stoll was searching to give one of her kidneys away. She found a post on Facebook that shared Blake's story.
"The moment I saw that on Facebook, I knew that is who my kidney is to go to," she told CBS 2 News.
When she found out that she was a perfect match she said, " I fell down to the ground cyring and I just yelled 'Thank you Jesus.'"
Blake had his kidney transplant in November 2013. Blake suffered a few complications after the surgery but has been out of the hospital for over a month. Steph and Blake are both doing well.
This toddler's family said they couldn't have gone through the ups and downs without the Ronald McDonald House.
"Doing something like this for the run is just our way of giving back," Burdolf said. " Just to get out of the hospital and have a place of retreat."
A place where they could bring their kids to play and a place to call home.
And the two families, who didn't know each other before the transplant, are inseparable.
"We're families now," Stoll said. " The bond is unexplainable."
A finish line that reminds them of all they have gone through.
The Ronald McDonald House of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois have seen more than 75,000 families since 1985. They see up to 1,500 families each year.