More than 20-thousand people ran in the 40th annual Gate River Run this year.
Some people participate to stay in shape or just have fun. But one family this year ran to help children battling serious illness.
16-year-old Courtney Starr isn’t letting cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects mostly the lungs--- hold her back.
"Coughing hurts sometimes also stomach aches and tightness,” Courtney said.
Starr, a senior at Greenwood High School, said she runs because she likes being active… It’s also a way to stay healthy- running helps clear her lungs of mucus.
"It helps with your breathing and it's supposed to help you stay out of the hospital a lot more,” Courtney said.
This is the 10th year Courtney’s family and friends have pitched their awning outside Everbank Field at the Gate River Run to raise funds for cystic fibrosis research.
Over the year’s they’ve raised more than 100 thousand dollars, but this is the first year they’ve teamed up to help other children battling disease with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“Because it’s our tenth year anniversary we wanted to make it a little unique and exciting and give back the community,” Starr said.
Courtney’s father, Steve Starr, said they were able to raise 8,000 for Make-A -Wish, it’s more than they anticipated. He credits the hometown event for bringing people out.
“I’ve been born and raised in Jax it’s something I’ve been doing for 25 years… putting a cause behind it makes it more special and then something that’s close to our hearts," Steve said.
Even though Courtney still has bad days, her focus is on where she will attend college. But not too far from home she said, so she can keep coming back to the Gate River Run.