"You've just got to do it:" Runners inspire young kidney patient
COLUMBIA - Avengers super-fan Jace Aitkens needs a new kidney.
His mom, Kayla Aitkens, said it all started when the 4-year-old contracted E.coli in January of 2017.
"We were in here at University of Missouri Women's and Children's hospital for two months," she said.
Aitkens said, since Jace suffered a heart attack the following November, he has had visit Women's and Children's three days a week for dialysis.
Kayla said that while it hasn't always been easy for him, Jace has always found a a way to hang tough.
"It’s amazing because he’s a superhero to me and to a lot of people I know," she said. "Just because of what he’s been through and to have such a good attitude still."
Tales of his heroism attracted the attention of Medals4Mettle.
The charity collect marathon and half-marathon finishers medals and gives them to those battling illness or trauma as a way to encourage them to keep fighting the good fight.
John Korte presides over the Columbia chapter.
"We award medals to people who are enduring their own race, who are running the race of their of their own life," he said.
As an award for his bravery, Korte and his wife awarded Jace an Avengers-themed medal; the perfect gift for an avid fan on the release date of Avengers: Endgame.
“We just came to brighten his day." Korte said. "It was wonderful to bring a smile to his face."
Korte said even superheroes like Jace need a little encouragement from time to time.
"When you say someone ran a marathon you think, 'That’s a ridiculous task,'" Korte said. "Well, so is going through dialysis, but you have to do it, you have to keep going."
Kayla said Jace's condition is stable, allowing them to wait for just the right kidney.
"He's still being so strong, for himself and for everyone around him," she said.