Race participants give medals to children fighting diseases - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Race participants give medals to children fighting diseases

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  LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB)---The Marathon and Mini-Marathon may now be over, but it's what happened after the race was finished that is leaving a lasting impression on a group of kids.

“It was better than I thought it was gonna be. You get tired and realize you get to give a medal to somebody this cute,” says participant Julie Klensch.

5-year-old Audrey Nethery was one of the kids given a medal on Saturday.

 “Is it your first medal?”, she was asked.

“No, now I'm gonna have 5,” Nethery replied.

It's all part of the Medals4Mettle program.

“Mettle is a word that means resilience and bravery and so much of what these patients have to go through when they're fighting a disease,” says Steven Isenberg with Medals4Mettle.

Audrey is fighting Diamond Blackfan anemia.

Her family says her bone marrow does not produce enough red blood cells.

She had 20 blood transfusions by the time she was a year and a half, and is currently on a steroid treatment.

Like Audrey, other children taking part in the Medals4Mettle room, are also fighting various diseases.

“I just feel like you've got to be positive about it,” says participant Tori Trizzle.

“Tori is like the most positive person I've never met. It's like, no matter what comes her way she's always smiling and laughing, and she makes the best out of every situation,” says Meagan Holtgrave, who ran the race.

It's the Medals4Mettle program that is bringing the runners and patients together on the same team.

It's not only for the children, but the medical students as well.

“And it helps them understand what becoming a physician means,” says Steven Isenberg.

For little Audrey, she's proud of every single medal she has received.

“No, I can only wear one at a time,” says Audrey Nethery.

Medal by medal, it's proving to be a rewarding experience for all involved.

“That medal would be hanging up in my closet. I wouldn't do anything with it. So, it's nice knowing somebody's going to appreciate it,” says Julie Klensch.

This program has been in place nationwide since 2005.

Since that time, officials say they've given out nearly 40,000 medals to patients in more than 80 hospitals.

75 medical students took part in Saturday's event.

Visit Medals 4 Mettle for more information.

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