5K raises money for families of sick children

By Beau Ebenezer

June 21, 2014 Updated Jun 23, 2014 at 9:58 AM CDT

FARMINGTON, Ill. -- A family's tragic loss is used as motivation to create a brand new event that's raising money for families of sick children.

A whole lot of heart showed up at Farmington School Saturday morning.

Runners took off for the 2nd Annual Hearts for Adi 5-K run and 1.5-mile walk.

The race started last year after Mike and Danielle Nelson lost their daughter to a congenital heart defect.

Addilynn Jo Nelson spent her first 22 days at the Children's Hospital, before passing away.

Now the Nelsons are doing everything they can to help others in the same situation.

"I think it has been a tremendous coping mechanism for me and my wife with what we've gone through," said Mike Nelson. "It's made it easier to go back to the hospital and do the things that puts a smile on people's faces. That's all you really want at a time like that."

Addilyn's aunt, Katie Moersch walked in the race with family.

She is also a nurse with the Children's Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where Addilyn was treated.

"She was a fighter," said Moersch. "That's what she was. She was never supposed to make it to be born. She did and she came out screaming and yelling. She gave it her best shot. There are so many kids out there like Adi. It's so nice to have something that goes directly back to the families. "

Hearts for Adi has already raised $10,000 since it started last October.

The Nelsons hope to raise another $5,000 with this year's event.

Proceeds go directly to creating "Adi Bags" for NICU families.

The bags include toiletry items and a blanket for families in times of crisis. Gift cards will also be given to families at the hospital.

The Nelson's hope the event continues to grow next year.

By that time, they can celebrate with their new baby that's on the way.

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