SACRAMENTO -- When Ricky Castillo woke Thursday morning, he had only one thing on his mind. He's been in severe pain for the past two weeks, so much so he had to be admitted to UC Davis Children's Hospital this past weekend -- but the pain didn't stop him from the lure of the race.
"When I told him about the marathon he said 'I'm going to be the first one, mom, and I'm going to win the medal for you'," Ricky's mom, Maria Cibrian, told FOX40.
Ricky is just one of the runners in this "mini-marathon" at UC Davis Children's Hospital. The event is sponsored by the Sacramento Running Association, ahead of this weekend's California International Marathon. Decked out in hospital gowns, these young patients raced through the halls of the pediatric unit. Some were pushed in strollers, connected to IV's.
Denis Zilaff, President of the Sacramento Running Association, says the mini-marathon offers a chance for these kids to have fun. It's an escape from the tough times they are going through.
"We see these kids and-- it just breaks your heart, to see what they've gone through, and what spirit they have," Zilaff said.
In addition to organizing the race, the Sacramento Running Association also gave $15,000 to the UC Davis Children's Hospital.
"We give to them so they can give prosthetics or mobile devices to the kids," Zilaff said. "So they can be mobile and move around and have a little bit more joy in their life."
But for Cibrian, the biggest prize of the day is the smile on her son's face.
"It means a lot. Just the smile itself," Cibrian told FOX40. "It wasn't even about the competition, it was the reinforcement that he had to want to go out and actually do something."