Tommy and Laura Clem grew up together, so Tommy was eager to celebrate the birth of Laura's first child, Ethan. What he wasn't prepared for were the text messages and emails from Laura about her son's medical condition.
Ethan was diagnosed at birth with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening
“I had no idea what CF meant,” Tommy said. “I thought Ethan would be in a wheel chair or something. It wasn't until I met Ethan that I really understood the disease and how it affected Ethan's lungs and
The more Tommy learned about the disease, the more he wanted to help.
“The biggest thing that got me was that many people don't know what CF is,” Tommy said. “I wanted to spread awareness and raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation so a cure can be found.”
One Step At A Time
And that is exactly what Tommy set out to do. He founded the More Than Just Miles Campaign and in September of 2012, began running across the country. His journey started in Seattle, Wash. and will end in Daytona Beach, Fla. on April 13, 2013 - Ethan's fourth birthday.
Tommy tries to run 10 - 20 miles a day and doesn't stop for anything. He has run through hail, wind, and rain storms, even below-freezing temperatures. Anytime he feels discouraged, Tommy thinks about Ethan - and all of the people he has met along the way who have CF.
“There are so many people who drive me each and every day,” Tommy said. “There are thousands of people worldwide who are following me and who have contributed to this campaign.”
Today, Tommy has run nearly 2,000 miles and has more than 5,100 followers on Facebook. He receives inspirational text messages, photographs and wall posts from fans regularly. For Laura, Tommy's commitment to the CF cause is overwhelming.
“I feel extremely blessed. Tommy is going above and beyond what I would expect any friend would do to support my son,” she said. “The outpouring of support gives me hope for the future. We are on the cusp and I really do believe a cure will be found.”