LINN- More than one hundred people from around the state gathered in Linn City Park for a 5k race in honor of two babies who passed away.
Kristy Russell's daughter, Paige, was born prematurely on June 11, 2013 and passed away to Edwards Syndrome, just 15 days later, on June 26. Edwards Syndrome, also known as Trisomy 18, is a genetic disorder caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 18th chromosome. Paige also suffered from choanal atresia which is a narrowing or blockage of the nasal airway by tissue.
Teressa Seifert's daughter, Faith, was born on June 14, 2013. She met Kristy while they were both in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the Women's and Children's Hospital in Columbia and they became friends.
Faith was only 24 weeks old when she was born and weighed less than two pounds. Suffering from multiple complications at birth, she fought for her life for four months and passed away last Thursday night.
Russell put together the 5k benefit at the last minute in honor of Faith and in memory of Paige. Proceeds from the race are going to Faith's family. Russell hopes the 5k can become an annual event and all future proceeds will go to the Women's and Children's Hospital in Columbia.
"That holds a special place in my heart now," Russell said. "And I want to do anything I can to help the hospital or donate. And I think it's a good cause, I don't think people realize how many babies are in there, there's 35 in there right now."
Travis Gelvin, a runner in the race, went to high school with Russell and Seifert. "They were two little kids that just didn't have a chance," he said. "I got to meet little Paige but I didn't get to meet Faith. The parents are great people."
Seifert hopes the 5k turns into an annual event and she hopes to start a motorcycle charity event as well.