30th annual Red Shoe Half Marathon brings families together - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

30th annual Red Shoe Half Marathon brings families together

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More than 900 people participated in the 30th annual Red Shoe Half Marathon and 5-K to support Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois.

For two families it's more than just running, every step is a fight for Blake.

“The struggle that Blake has gone through; I can give up 25 minutes of my life,” said Aaron Burdorf.

Burdorf’s 3-year old son, Blake, was born with a failing kidney.

The Burdorf family, from State Center, stayed at the Ronald McDonald House of Iowa City 9 times so they could be close to their little one.

“Knowing this family and what they've gone through, I've never known a child who has gone through so much,” said Steph Stoll, who donated her kidney to Blake.

In November, Stoll says she decided to donate her kidney. Just 5 months after the kidney transplant, she ran the race.

Burdorf said the process of finding a donor was a really stressful time for the family.

After several months of dialysis to help keep Blake’s little body in balance, the Burdorf’s found the perfect match.

“I had felt like God had laid it on my heart to donate, and I felt like my kidney belonged to a kid,” said Stoll. “It’s strengthened my faith and my family along the way, too. I cannot imagine not going through this journey.”

Blake is now walking and has all the energy of an average 3-year-old.

“For her to be willing to give something of herself to help our family is a huge relief for us,” said Burdorf.

Stoll says it’s just amazing to see Blake alive running and walking just like other kids his age. She say’s it makes it all worth it.

“I think when you look at this, that’s really the celebration, said Kristin Roberts, executive director of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Iowa & Western Illinois. “What a wonderful thing that we can be able to look at with these families and see how far they’ve gone in their journeys.”

Burdorf and Stoll says its races like this one that allows others to take the extra mile, to bring families together in more ways than one.

“You can live an awesome life with one kidney and you can save an awesome life. It’s just so worth it,” said Stoll.

The Stoll and Burdorf family ran the half marathon in honor of Blake’s journey.

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