By Ukee Washington
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — When runners finish a big race, they usually get medals, each one a literal badge of honor. Some runners are donating their medals to young people going through cancer treatment.
Ten-year-old Emily Peshick is getting a checkup at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, charting her progress since her bone marrow transplant.
Emily’s father, Tim Peshick, said, “She’s full of energy. She’s always smiling.”
Emily was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia in October 2011. In April, she got that bone marrow transplant. That’s a real marathon, says Dr. Nancy Bunin.
“It’s a long process. It’s very hard on the patient and family,” said Dr. Bunin.
To Sharan Kaur, that bravery deserves a medal, literally. Sharan is part of Medals4Mettle, a national network of volunteers that collects medals donated by marathon runners to give to children undergoing cancer treatment. Over the years, they’ve donated more than 21,000 medals.
“I personally know what goes into earning one of these medals,” said Sharan, “so to be able to just take that and give it to somebody else, it’s really very special.”
While any marathon medals are appreciated, some are especially prized. “Children love medals from the Disney races, so we love it when we get all these Goofy and Mickey and Donald medals,” said Sharan.
Then CHOP’s doctors award them to patients like Emily, congratulating them on finishing their own marathon.
“This person ran 13 miles and they got this award and gave it to you because you’re so brave,” Dr. Bunin explained to Emily.
“Awesome!” Emily said.
It’s a moving moment for a proud parent. Tim Peshick teared up and said, “Thank you, and keep it up.”
If you’d like to help by donating your own marathon or half-marathon medals, visit: www.medals4mettle.org