Brookfield resident Derek Mihalcin knew of the plight of 5-year-old Jordy Hammond. He also knew of her battle with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
According to stjude.org, the disease affects various white blood cells. Leukemic cells accumulate in the bone marrow, replace normal blood cells and can spread to the liver, spleen, skin, or central nervous system.
Jordy first was diagnosed a couple of years ago and was thought now to be in remission. However, there was a recurrence in the spring of this year.
Mihalcin knew he had to do something.
"May, when I heard the cancer had come back, I was going to do something, but I hadn't done anything," Mihalcin said. "Then, one night it hit me. What if I ran? If I was going to do that, it would be something significant for people to get behind."
This Saturday, Mihalcin is starting a 60-mile journey from the Ronald McDonald House on the campus of Akron Children's Hospital.
He's stopping at the Holiday Inn Express Saturday night and going to remainder of the way on Sunday to Brookfield, with other runners and area cross country teams joining him the final couple of miles.
Sunday, Mihalcin's run will end at Yankee Run Golf Course, where there will be a finish line picnic and other events happening.
People can run with Mihalcin and support this effort at runforjordy.com.
Mihalcin, a Badger High School graduate, didn't run in high school. He started running almost a year ago to get into shape and it progressed into a 5K, 10K and even a marathon.
Mihalcin admits this will test his endurance, but knows this is for a good cause.
"I'm not an elite runner," Mihalcin said. "There are people out there that could run this easily. For me, it's not supposed to be easy. It's supposed to be hard. It's going to be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.
"If she's going through what she's going through, running 60 miles pales in comparison to that."
As for Jordy, she got a bone marrow transplant about three weeks ago at Akron Children's Hospital and was recently moved to the Akron Ronald McDonald House.
Shawn, Jordy's father, said Jordy's tentative date to come home to Brookfield is Dec. 9.
Both Shawn and Mihalcin played little league baseball together before the two went to different high schools - Shawn to Brookfield and Mihalcin to Badger.
Mihalcin, 37, has a kinship with Shawn. Both have two children - ages 3 and 5.
"Anyone who has little ones, it hits close to home," Shawn said.
Mihalcin approached Shawn and his family at this spring's Shenango Valley Relay for Life in Sharon, Pa., about running to raise money for Jordy. Jordy was the ambassador for this year's Relay for Life.
"Like a lot of people that approach us, they want to help out in some way," Shawn said. "Our support staff (friends and family) has been unbelievable. He likes to run and he's been doing a lot of running."
Shawn said he's been touched by the gratitude people like Derek have shown his family.
"Here's a guy that I've seen a handful of times in 15 years, run into his dad at some football and basketball games," Shawn said. "It's pretty cool, to touch that many people. Then you say, 'Wow.' It's pretty amazing."