IMPERIAL – In support of a young Imperial Valley boy in need of a kidney transplant, the Cross Fit Gym of Imperial hosted the “Eli’s Heroes” 5K Run/walk and Cross Fit Competition Saturday morning to help raise money for the family.
Israel and Lizett Samaniego are the parents of two-year-old Eli, and he is scheduled for a parent to child kidney transplant this summer, according to Malle Sato, Cross Fit Gym owner. A match with his mother, the boy will receive his transplant from her. The parents are members of Cross Fit of Imperial Valley, and to keep the tight knit family together, they teamed up with Sato for the fundraiser.
“The members and staff here at cross fit had a great turn out for this event and raised well over the $10,000 goal we set for today,” said Sato, “and we also felt it was our duty to come together as an organization to bring this family relief from this hardship.”
The event kicked off with the 5k run/walk where over 100 people showed up to give their support to the cause. The 5k was dog-friendly and those who brought their pets along with them were able to run with them.
To honor Eli, contestants were asked to dress in superhero attire, to give the boy confidence to undergo his procedure.
Following the 5k, attendees gathered in the gym for the excitement of the cross fit competition that included over 70 teams with two people on each team. Teams were divided into three categories of basic, intermediate, and expert levels, to keep the competition fair.
The contest had each team compete in power lifts with each member doing the required number of power-lifts in as short a time as possible. As the seats filled up, many watched as these gym goers raced to the end. With the lifting over, contestants met outside the gym to begin the racing portion on a mile-long course.
“We set up this competition to push the contestants and to show the struggle it can take to persevere, like Eli and his family will have to do this summer,” said Sato.
The Cross Fit Gym of Imperial Valley also raffled off prizes and the morning ended with a taco stand funded by the Eli Foundation.