A 5K run-walk that is a fundraiser for medical expenses for Stokesdale resident Julie McCormick will take place on Saturday morning.
McCormick, who is not a runner but is a friend of runner and event organizer Nikki MacEldowney, was diagnosed in January with Pulmonary Veno-Occlusive Disease. The disease causes the small veins in the lungs to harden, and there is no treatment. McCormick required double lung transplant, which she had in April.
"I want them to see (on FaceTime) that parking lot at Fleet Feet filled with people," MacEldowney says. "Not filled with people just because they want to run a 5K, but filled with people that are showing their love and support for her whether they know her or not. I want her to see that she has love and prayers and support from people all over this town."
MacEldowney is well-known in the community as a runner, but being race organizer is a new role for her.
"Julie, in my mind, is the perfect girl," MacEldowney says. "She'll give anybody the shirt off her back. She is the best person.
"When she found out that she had PVOD, I immediately was like, 'What can I do?' For a while, all they kept saying was, 'Just pray.' And that's what I did. I kept praying and saying, 'If there's something I can do, God, tell me.'
"One night two of her friends said they were trying to come up with ideas for fundraisers because Duke had told them ... 'you're going to need to raise $25,000 to try to help with all the bills.' Not just the medical bills, but they did have to get an apartment. There are so many costs involved. They texted me and said, 'We thought about a 5K, and Julie said to ask you.'
"I was like 'Oh, Lord!' I've run a lot of 5Ks, but I've never coordinated one or put one on. I felt like this was Him saying, 'This is you. You love to run; you love everything about running. So this is what I'm giving you.' So I said, 'Absolutely.'"
McCormick and her husband, Patrick, are parents to two daughters. The families became friends a couple of decades ago starting at a softball field.
"Our husbands played slow-pitch softball together," MacEldowney says. "We had both just had our first babies and just grew a friendship from that. Five years later, we had our second daughters, and we were still friends and still hanging out. We went to the same pool, our youngest girls played travel softball together for a while. It's a friendship that formed on a ball field and has continued for 20 years since."