SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Running 175 miles in seven days sounds like a brutal challenge, but it's nothing compared to a child's fight against cancer. Richard Nares lost his son to cancer almost 10 years ago. It's for little Emilio and the children and families battling cancer now that he's making an incredible run.
Richard is on day six of his seven day journey from Los Angeles to San Diego, running for a special child each day.
He's joined by other runners for stretches, including myself for 12 miles on Friday. It's all an effort to raise money and awareness in the fight against childhood cancer.
We had a chance to talk to Richard last week, before he started his run, which ends Saturday at Rady Children's hospital where many young cancer patients are treated. That's where Richard and his wife Diane's son Emilio was treated for leukemia before dying in 2001 just before he turned six.
"Like most parents he became the center of our universe. So when he left us he left a huge hole," said Richard.
But rather than let that hole grow with despair, they decided to fill it with hope, providing support for disadvantaged families battling childhood cancer.
"Generally, they are low income families. What happens is when the child is diagnosed with cancer, one parent has to stay with the child, the other goes to work and with that the car goes and the child is left without transportation to the hospital," explained Richard.
The Emilio Nares Foundation's mission started with just helping kids and their parents to and from the hospital. It's grown to an organization that helps with transportation and other support services operating out of an office in Rady Children's Hospital.
And it's to raise money for the foundation, to help others in need, in Emilio's honor that drives this 58-year-old runner - a man who never ran a marathon before he turned 50 - turning to it even then as a fundraiser.
"My little discomfort for seven or so days is nothing to what these children go through," added Richard.
And he also knows that with each step he honors his lost son and keeps his memory alive.
Richard finishes his run at the main entrance of Rady Children's Hospital at about noon Saturday, September 17 and is looking for a big crowd.
He's running for hope, but also to raise about $100,000 for the Emilio Nares Foundation.