UK medical students lace up run running shoes to make a difference for sick kids

UK medical students lace up run running shoes to make a difference for sick kids
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 12:25 PM EDT|Updated: May. 25, 2023 at 12:38 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Pediatric orthopedic patients at Shriners Lexington will have some really cool new hardware thanks to the kindness of UK medical students.

For one of those patients, Clara Watts, it helped make her 7th birthday a memorable one.

UK medical students wanted to find a way to honor patients like Clara. Inspired by the national organization Medals4Mettle, they created the “Medals4Mettle UK Volunteer Event.”

“Our purpose was to collect earned medals after running this distance race and donate them directly to children at Shriners to celebrate their resiliency,” said Taylor Bradley, UK medical student.

Clara, who is also a Shriners ambassador, spent the morning at Keeneland gathering medals for herself and other patients.

“At the end of the day, we had 13 medals. So, she was kind of weighed down a little bit, but she handled it like a pro,” said Kayla Watts, Clara’s mom.

Seventeen medical students took part in the race, running distances ranging from 3.6 miles to a half marathon, all while raising money for the hospital.

“The hospital is my second home,” said Clara.

Clara has been a patient at Shriners since she was 5 months old.

“She was later diagnosed with scoliosis. She’s had 15 casts four braces, and we’ve just been here ever since,” Kayla said.

“It really shows how much compassion that they already have for patients and I think that’s really amazing because that’s gonna make them great doctors,” said Kayla.

An event designed to celebrate the accomplishments of young patients left the new 7-year-old with a verse she wanted to share with fellow patients.

“Always be strong. and courageous. and God will never leave you,” said Clara. “That’s why I’ve been hoping for all the kids in the world, that they would be happy, be joyful, and they’d be excited.”

The medical students are hoping to turn this into an annual fundraiser.