DENVER – Roughly 6,000 runners and walkers were expected at Washington Park on Sunday for one of Colorado’s largest timed 5K events.
The Annual Great Candy Run is in its 14th year in Denver.
"I didn't feel completely like we had a victory 'til I got to hold my daughters and know that they were OK," Lonnie Somers said.
About 15 years ago, he and his wife were pregnant with identical twin daughters.
"About the 20th week of our pregnancy, we were diagnosed with a fetal syndrome called Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome," Somers added.
TTTS kills more babies per year than SIDS.
Somers emphasized the seriousness and said, "One baby, in some cases, gets a disproportionate amount of blood and nutrients versus the other. It can be fatal to both."
Each step at Sunday's 5K provided monetary and emotional support for the hundreds of thousands of others facing the same fate.
Denver7 also met Tommy Thwaites. He and his wife were also diagnosed with TTTS.
"Everything went well, then we had an ultrasound where unfortunately, we lost one of the heartbeats," Thwaites said. "Fortunate for us, unlike some of the other people out there, you know... We have one really healthy child that came out fine."
Sunday's run benefited the Fetal Health Foundation (FHF), a Littleton-based national nonprofit that supports families who have received a fetal syndrome diagnosis.
The Foundation’s website reported more than 800,000 pregnancies are affected by a fetal syndrome diagnosis each year. This equates to the deaths of 200 babies every day.
The FHF has provided opportunities to families so they can access maternal fetal medical experts and diagnosis-specific information.
In addition, it has provided connections and counseling to support impacted families.
A few of the fetal health conditions supported by the foundation include:
Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS)
Lower Urinary Tract Obstruction (LUTO)
Amniotic Band Syndrome (ABS)
Selective IntraUterine Growth Restriction (SIUGR)
Acardiac Twinning (TRAP)
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS)
Isoimmunization (and other causes of fetal anemia)
Iatrogenic preterm rupture of membranes
Select congenital heart defects
The Foundation relies mostly on the national Great Candy Run awareness campaign and fundraiser. Currently the races are scheduled for Denver, Minneapolis, and Seattle/Redmond.
For more information on the Foundation, click here.