It's not just the start of a race, but also the beginning of a friendship stemming from a bond that began two years ago.
James Strejc is a 4-year-old full of energy and life from Houston. Two years ago, he was diagnosed with cancer. His parents say he went through rounds of chemo and things were looking good.
"He was healthy again for about six months and we were pretty hopeful at that point, but then he relapsed. And when he relapsed, we were told that he had to have a bone marrow transplant," said Nick Strejc, James' father.
More than 1,800 miles away, Kayla Hammergren was enjoying her sophomore year at Boston College. She decided to sign up to become a bone marrow donor after a friend told her about his brother who died from Leukemia.
"To me the thought process was, you know, it's so rare I probably won't get picked. You know, it will be fine," said Hammergren.
But little James was in need.
"Five months, later I get a call saying you know you are a potential match," said Hammergren.
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Sunday morning at the Gift of Life's Inaugural Walk for Life 5K, the Stejc family met their child's life-saver.
"Seeing him in the Intensive Care Unit multiple times and here he is today because of Kayla," said Stephanie Strejc, James' mother.