INDIANAPOLIS - Local students donated their marathon participation medals to kids who are battling cancer Monday afternoon.
The Indianapolis Monumental Marathon and Medals4Mettle program teamed up to let students from Indianapolis Public Schools present medals and handwritten letters of encouragement to patients at Riley Hospital for Children.
Medals4Mettle was started in Indianapolis by a local doctor in 2005. The program allows marathon runners across the country to donate their medal to a child fighting cancer.
As the program continues to grow, local students are becoming involved as part of the Monumental Kids Movement . This year, 23 students from Jonathan Jennings School 109 donated their medals from the Monumental Marathon.
Kadyn Hogg, 9, has been in the hospital since November. His final chemotherapy treatment was Sunday and he received a medal donated by a marathon runner Monday.
"It means so much to me that a kid ran this marathon and donated it to Riley Hospital," Hogg said.
"It keeps their minds off other things and lets us worry about those things," Hogg’s grandfather Mark Collins said.
Marathon runners hope the donated hardware will bring a smile to the face of a child battling a life-threatening disease.
"Lots of times it's the first time they've ever won a medal or received a medal and it's a big deal for the kids in the elementary schools. When they get them, pretty commonly they wear them around for a week or two at school and are really proud," IMM Executive Director Blake Boldon said. "When someone doesn't have a whole lot and they get something for the first time and then they give it back to someone in even greater need, that's true philanthropy."
Organizers hope the number of local students who become involved in the program will continue to grow each year.