In May, Hope Rises posted a video of a firefighter, dressed in full turnout gear, pushing a young cancer warrior in a specialized wheelchair down the streets of Buffalo. That firefighter ran the length of a half marathon - more than 13 miles!
That video went viral, rightfully so. It was an incredible feat.
We wanted to showcase that firefighting hero, along with Timmy, the young man battling cancer.
Hear more from Ryan Mast, a Louisiana firefighter:
I am the founding member of Flags to the Finish, a running group composed of a retired Marine. a Special Agent for the Attorney General's Office, and myself. We run for many different causes.
In 2018, I was made aware of Fire Explorer, Timmy Richardson, out of Buffalo. He went viral across the nation after asking for 30 shirts from fire departments from around the country for his 30 days of chemo. I contacted his mom and fire captain, and told them I wasn't going to send a shirt! I can only imagine their faces after I said that. Then I proceeded to say, "Instead I am buying a plane ticket and I am doing the Buffalo Marathon in his honor in full gear."
Timmy's story hit home for me, as my mom is from Buffalo, and lots of family and friends are there.
I made a phone call to Ainsley's Angels (learn more by clicking here) and secured a "chariot" or a racing wheel chair. And it happened - I pushed Timmy in his first ever half marathon!
For almost a decade, I have run full marathons and other races, in my full gear. I feel like it's given me a platform to promote causes, raise awareness, and collect money for charity. Our core team is comprised of Elena, a Marine Veteran in Baton Rouge, and Randy, a Special Agent with the Louisiana State Attorney General's Office. I have been friends with him for 20 years and her almost ten, since she saw me during the 2011 Rock 'N Roll Marathon and asked to be carried along the route, so I picked her up and carried her.
Timmy has told me he wants to pay it forward. Even though he was not at 100% heath, we together gave out 500 small flags this year, and next year I will bring 1,000 to the 2020 Buffalo Marathon.