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Athletes work hard to earn medals—but there are other heroes who also deserve shiny recognition of the accomplishments they make every day. A group of Saint Louis University School of Medicine students teamed up to give medals to these young champions.


Left: SLU medical student Brianna Whittemore poses with Cardinal Glennon patient Joshua and his new medal.



Right: Kendra Jones helps her baby, Brooke, model the medal she received.


A group of SLU medical students who ran the GO! St. Louis marathon recently presented their medals to 16 children in Cardinal Glennon’s Footprints program.

The students, led by first-year medical student Justin Adams, partnered with Medals4Mettle, a nonprofit that facilitates marathon finishers giving their medals to others who have demonstrated similar "mettle" – or courage.

The children in the Footprints program certainly demonstrate the type of courage and tenacity it takes to finish a marathon. The Footprints program works with children with complex and sometimes life-threatening illnesses and their families.

For Adams and the 15 students who joined him, Medals4Mettle was an important chance to work with the patients they hope to help in their future careers.

"Medals4Mettle was an opportunity to remind medical students about the incredible people we hope to help in the future," Adams said. "By gifting the medals from the race, we hope that we can take the cheers and praise we received during the race and give them to someone who could use a cheerleader in their life."

The runners presented their medals to 16 patients at a recent pizza party at SSM Cardinal Glennon.

"The runners and patients had an incredible, heart-warming exchange," said Denise McCluskey, coordinator of Community Outreach for the Footprints program. "Having people to encourage them and recognize the struggles they face every day meant a lot to our patients. They really are champions—and now they have medals to show for it."

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