CARLSBAD, Calif. - It started out as a way for parents to honor their son who died from a mysterious disease. Now, the "Hearts for Hope" 5K helps many critically ill children and their families.
For Tracey Rico, her two kids are her life. Her 8-year-old son Tanner has muscular dystrophy. His muscles are deteriorating, forcing him to live in a wheelchair and needing help 24 hours a day.
Her daughter, 12-year-old Pria, has a respiratory condition. She has had 56 surgeries just to keep her alive.
"When you are on a mission to save your kid, you do what you have to do," said Rico. "I couldn't do it without this village … I could not."
The village she is referring to is made up of the supporters of the Mitchell Thorp Foundation. On Saturday, more than 2,000 of them ran to raise money for families like the Ricos.
It is a cause that is near to the heart of the Thorps. They lost their son Mitchell at age 18 due to an undiagnosed condition.
At the time, the community came forward to help them. Now five years later, they are doing the same thing, helping families facing a similar battle.
"It’s frightening. It's scary. We're trying to heal our kids. Parents go to the ends of the earth to try and save their children and they'll do whatever it takes," said Beth Thorp.
Though each case is different, the foundation has paid for medical expenses, transportation to get to appointments and even taking care of home improvement needs of families, offering a little reminder about the importance of paying it forward.
Click here to learn more about the Mitchell Thorp Foundation.