Riley's Run Raises Awareness for Chronic Digestive Disorder
EDMOND, Oklahoma - Oklahomans are stepping up to help a little girl who is allergic is almost everything.
Riley Kahn, 3, suffers from a rare disorder where her body can't digest solid food. So on Saturday, friends and family gathered for the first ever "Riley's Run".
"I ran!" Riley said.
"Did you run for all the kids with allergies? And tummy problems?" Riley's mom, Jill Kahn asked.
"Uh-huh," replied Riley.
As runners crossed the finish line at Oakdale School Saturday, Riley was there with mom and dad cheering them on. The 3-year-old has an extremely rare Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorder.
"Words cannot express what this means for us," Riley's dad, Mike Kahn said.
"It's so humbling and amazing," Jill said.
You'd never know their happy bouncing 3 year old is sick. Another mom started "Riley's Run" after seeing what the Kahn's have been through.
"I would see Riley struggling and see Jill and Mike struggling," Sexton said. "I love them like family and would do anything for people who are like family to me."
Dad says Riley is basically allergic to everything. Her little body rejects food.
Sexton, American Partnership for Ensinophilic Disorders (APFED), OKCPD, neighbors, friends and family got together Saturday at Oakdale School for a 5K, 1K run.
"At this point Riley doesn't have any solid foods that she can eat. She eats through a tummy tube and it's in her backpack," Mike said.
"Is this your backpack?" Jill asks Riley.
"Yeah," Riley said with a grin,
"She likes her backpack," Jill said.
The race was also a way to teach other kids about Riley's disorder and explain why she can't do everything her little friends do. But Riley sure did run the race like a champ. Before Jill and Mike or even doctors knew Riley's diagnosis, she suffered through.
"That's what this race is meant to do, is get the awareness out there and the diagnosis can happen quicker and these kids can start being happy like riley and can run through a one mile run no problem," dad said.
Oklahoma City Police Officer Chad Peery hopes to run with Riley someday.
"Her [disorder] is going to be the rest of her life. Mine, if I can keep my progress going, I have the potential or at least the mindset that I'm going to get up and get out of this chair," Peery said.
Spreading the word, bringing cool cop friends, bomb squad and helicopter included, Peery is a father of four and says so many people in the community have helped him. He said being there for Riley's Run was a must.
"My hope, I will get to overcome my battle. Riley on the other hand is going to have to deal with this," Peery said.
"On the down times, you start losing hope because one day is great and one day is bad when it's a gastro issue, so this definitely brings us tons of hope," said Jill.
Doctors don't know what causes the disorder and there's not a cure. The Kahn family has to travel to Denver, Colorado to see a specialist, because Oklahoma doesn't have a gastro-intestinal expert to treat Riley's disorder.