IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - Costumes were on full display for Saturday's Hero Fun Run/Walk 5K and 10K in Idaho Falls, an exciting event to help benefit 7-year-old superhero Owen Hansen.
Owen was recently diagnosed with the condition Ataxia Telangiectasia or “A-T”. A-T is a rare genetic neurodegenerative disorder that attacks children, causing progressive loss of muscle control, cancer, and immune system problems. There are fewer than 500 current cases of A-T in the country.
At age 2, Owen began exhibiting muscle weakness and began tiring abnormally easily. Owen's father Clay and mother Jodie spent five years traveling between Idaho Falls and Salt Lake City to participate in many different rounds of medical testing. After five years of tests, they learned Owen had A-T.
To help Owen and his family, Ball Ventures, which is the company where Clay works, organized the event in Owen’s honor.
"Just from the second I met Clay, you can just tell he’s an amazing man, an amazing father, super humble, great guy," said Clay's co-worker Nate Clark. "It only made sense when we heard about his son to be able to rally around him and be able to support his family in a difficult time like this."
Many friends of the family were in attendance at the event, including his former preschool teacher Deana Burke. Burke says it's Owen's approach to life that she appreciates most.
"Owen has had to go through a lot of struggles, but the thing that impresses me about him is that he is the happiest kid ever," Burke said. "He’s always got a smile on his face, and he's just a joy to be around."
Clay said the event was originally going to be a small family event, but his co-workers helped take it to the next level.
"Just how my co-workers are, they just kind of took that and ran with it and made it what it is here, which is overwhelming," Hansen said. "We're so grateful."