Kids have big hearts, and most of them choose to do kind things to help others. When Niall McDermott found out that his grandpa had been diagnosed with lung cancer, the 10-year-old wanted to find a way to help.
He wasn’t sure what he could do, but then he got an idea.
Niall had always enjoyed being active, so he thought that he could raise money to help by running in a 5K.
Then, he decided to take it to the next level. He had recently watched a movie called “Iron Cowboy,” about a man who had completed 50 5Ks in 50 days. He thought maybe he could do the same. His family warned him that it wouldn’t be easy and were even worried that he would suffer from exhaustion during the races. Still, they allowed him to try it.
“I wanted to do 50 5Ks in 50 days.”
His parents explained that they were shocked when their son told them about his plans.
They wanted to encourage him, so they took him to the doctor for a physical to make sure he was in good shape and healthy enough to run in one 5K, let alone another one. Ryan McDermott, the boy’s father, said:
“No, I thought it was very unlikely. Ten-year-olds are fantastic, but they embark on a lot of things that they don’t finish.”
The doctor cleared him, and Niall started running.
He spent the next 50 days running in 5Ks. Sometimes, his family members and friends would enter them with him, and sometimes, he would just enter them on his own. His mom is impressed by Niall’s dedication. She said:
“He never complained a single day, said he didn’t want to do it, or he’s too tired or something hurt. He was just ready to go every day. I’m amazed. I’ve never really known a kid to do something like this, personally. I’m proud to be his mom.”
He has had numerous people to pledge and donate to him based on his 5K performance.
He has also become an inspiration for many people. His mom said that her son has taught her that children are capable of doing big things. They just need to be given the chance and the right support.
Niall recently completed his final 5K alongside a friend. When he was asked what he was thinking during that race, he said:
“I was thinking ‘I’m gonna finish this and I can do it, and when I finish it, I won’t have to do it anymore.’”
Now that Niall is finished, he is taking a break for a while.
That doesn’t mean he is done, though. He now knows that he can make a difference and wants to do even more to help. He donated all of the money he raised from his 5K races to the Bonnie J Addario Lung Cancer Foundation in honor of his grandfather.
According to the website:
“The Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) is one of the largest philanthropies (patient-founded, patient-focused, and patient-driven) devoted exclusively to eradicating Lung Cancer through research, early detection, education, and treatment. The Foundation’s goal is to work with a diverse group of physicians, organizations, industry partners, individuals, patients, survivors, and their families to identify solutions and make a timely and meaningful change and turn lung cancer into a chronically managed disease by 2023. The ALCF was established on March 1, 2006, as a 501c(3) non-profit organization and has raised over $30 million for lung cancer research and related programs.”
There’s no telling what Niall will be up to next.
Maybe he will choose to continue to run 5Ks and raise money in his grandfather’s honor, or maybe he will use his smart mind and physical abilities to help someone else. This boy has proved that he can make a difference and can do anything he puts his mind to.
Watch his story below.
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