THIS year's Run for Russ on Sunday, August 10 will have special meaning for one Stawell family, with the childrens race around Cato Lake named in honour of two-year-old heart patient, Kane Holmes.
The son of Candace and Russell Holmes, Kane was born five weeks premature at Ballarat Base Hospital in August 2012.
At just two weeks of age, he experienced heart failure and was raced to Monash Medical Centre where he was diagnosed with multiple heart defects, the most serious being a coarctation of the aorta (narrowing of the main artery that delivers oxygen-rich blood to the body).
Since the diagnosis, Kane has had four heart surgeries at the Royal Children's Hospital. In February 2013, at six months of age, he was well enough to go home for the first time.
"Our time at the hospital has been filled with many ups and downs and twists and turns, but the hospital staff, Ronald McDonald House and Heart Kids have helped keep our spirits up," Russell Holmes said.
"Our family took part in last year's 'Run for Russ' and we are honoured that this year's kids' run will be named 'Kane's Run' to help raise awareness of congenital heart disease and the Heart Kids organisation.
"We'd like to thank the organisers for their kind idea to do this."
Event founder and organiser Jackie Peacock said the kids' run, which involved one lap of Cato Lake, was an integral part of the event, which also featured a five kilometre walk/run and 10 kilometre run.
"We want the next generation of people living in the Grampians to be heart healthy so we can reduce the high statistics of heart disease in our region," Ms Peacock said.
"By encouraging children of all ages to walk or run in Kane's Run, we're encouraging them to get active and get into good health habits early.
"We also want to raise awareness of the vital work of Heart Kids Australia and all proceeds from the kids' entries will go to them to help them in their work."
Another ambassador for this year's Wimmera Heart Challenge - Run for Russ is 2013 Biggest Loser winner Craig Booby of Ararat.
He'll be one of hundreds of people from across Western Victoria expected to take part in the five kilometre walk/run and 10 kilometre run to raise money towards heart health awareness in the Grampians.
To register, go to www.heartchallenge.com.au Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org, 0409 972 457.
For more information about Heart Kids Australia visit www.heartkids.org.au