OKEMOS, Mich. -- Ramon Hernandez is Amway's Pay it Forward Person of the Month for September.
An avid runner, Hernandez said running has been a passion for as long as he can remember. But, the ultra marathon runner found that as he pushed himself to run greater distances, he also felt a growing desire to make a difference.
"I just wanted something more out of running," Hernandez told FOX 17 News. "Talked it over with my wife, and we just decided to run for a cause."
The cause became Team Keegan, a non-profit started by the Bulk family in Fremont that sends treasure chests packed full of toys and goodies to young cancer patients across the state and across the country. More than 250 chests have been sent out since the organization was first created a couple of years ago.
Jennifer and Donny Bulk began the initiative after their son Keegan was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor a day before his ninth birthday. Keegan, who will be 13 on September 30, is currently in remission and is a big part of the family's efforts.
Hernandez first learned about Team Keegan after a co-worker confided in him about his own sick son. "They mentioned Team Keegan, how they used them and how they helped him, what they did for their family," explained Hernandez. "The first time I met [the Bulk family], I just knew that's what I was meant to do--was run for them."
After a year of training, the 'Love of the Run' event began on August 30 when Hernandez set out from Bay City State Park. For the next five days, he ran approximately 150 miles to complete the run in Ludington at Stearns Park. Keegan Bulk and his mom Jennifer were waiting at the finish line.
"I just remember telling Jennifer every step I was going to take was going to be for those kids. That got me through the day," he said. "I just got out of it knowing that I helped somebody, helped kids, helped pay it forward. That's all I wanted to do, was do something good."
Hernandez also created a virtual run and sold 'Love of the Run' t-shirts to raise money for Team Keegan. He's been able to bring in about $4,300 dollars so far.
Coincidentally, September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Hernandez plans to keep the fundraising going through the end of the month.
To learn more about 'Love of the Run', including buying t-shirts or registering for the virtual run, click here.
To learn more about Team Keegan, click here.