A sense of pride and accomplishment has filled the McLemore house as the family - parents Doug and Emily and their three daughters, Maddie, 9, Lexi, 5, and baby Kylie, along with several other family members - gave it their all at the recent DaVita Kidney Awareness Walk.

The 5K run/walk took participants on a more than three-mile trek through Trinity Park in Fort Worth.

Prior to embarking on the journey, Emily said, “Us doing the 5K is a big deal.”

A big deal because Maddie has been battling a barrage of illnesses most of her life and was only recently allowed to join her classmates during physical education classes and sign up for volleyball with the Stephenville Parks and Recreation Department.

Maddie has two kidney disorders and as Emily explained, lives her young life in a body that is “always at war with itself.” A biopsy earlier this year finally led to the dual diagnosis - she has IgA Nephropathy and another kidney disorder. One of the illnesses is an auto-immune disorder while the second means she is immuno compromised.

But to Maddie’s delight, her dedication to raising awareness of kidney illnesses gave her the extra push she needed to complete more than half of the walk.

Emily said Maddie began to slow at about two miles and with Kylie in tow, Emily and Doug decided to forgo the last mile.

“Everyone else kept going and finished the course with Jerry, our cousin’s husband, who has had a kidney transplant,” Emily said. “Maddie was really hoping to be able to do the entire walk, but she has to pace herself. Two miles this year, maybe the entire thing next year. The last thing we wanted was to push it too hard during the walk and end up in a relapse.”

The McLemores lined up alongside more than 250 participants Saturday as part of the event that raised almost $8,000, bringing the nationwide fundraising total to more than $240,000 raised by participants across the United States.

Maddie and her teammates surpassed their $500 goal by raising almost $800.

Other highlights of the event included an address by State Representative Kelly Hancock, who has been personally touched by kidney-related health issues.