By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter
ONEIDA (WATE) - A Scott County man is going the extra mile to help raise money for a local woman battling cancer; 56 miles to be exact.
That's how far Trinity Smith is running Saturday to raise money for his friend Erica Byrd, an Oneida resident undergoing treatment for leukemia.
Byrd beat cancer once and was in remission, but then it came back, and with it, the medical bills.
She is currently in Houston, Texas for a bone marrow transplant and will likely have to remain in the hospital there for another two months.
So when her friend Trinity Smith was asked to help raise money to help, the avid runner decided to take his efforts to the streets.
"It's not about me. Not at all. I just wanna help her," said Smith.
Smith is running from Clinton to Oneida, asking community members to make donations for Erica for every single mile he covered, all 56 of them.
"I know I'm not the best runner in the world but I feel like I've been blessed with this gift and I don't wanna waste it. I wanna help people," said Smith.
He started the run at 4:30 a.m. Saturday.
6 News spoke to him as he was completing mile 30.
While he says the trek is one of the hardest things he's ever done, thinking about Erica along the way motivated him to just keep going.
He knows his pain is nothing compared to the battle Erica, a wife and mother to a young son, is facing.
"I do think of her. That's what you have to do. Just take a step, and take another step," said Smith. "They're in a battle and they're not giving up, you know they're fighting and I can't give up. They have to deal with it everyday, so why can't I do it for one day?"
Smith has had a police escort and support crew with him all day, with friends and family members of Erica's took turns running alongside him.
"My feet hurt. My legs hurt. Without them, I don't think I could do this," said Smith.
Erica's cousin says she still can't believe he's doing this, and says it means the world to their family, not just the funds, but the community support it's generating.
"It means a whole lot to know that people really love you. We can tell her that all day but to show it and see people who are really supporting her and showing that love for her," said Rita Pemberton, Erica's cousin.
So mile after mile, Trinity trudges one, his T-shirt emblazoned with the words "Team Erica," and her own personal cancer fighting catch phrase written on the back; "No White Flags."
Like Erica, he says giving up is never an option.
"I don't wanna let her down or anybody. I want to finish," said Smith.
Smith's run will end at the Walgreens on Alberta Street in Oneida.
That's where Erica used to work before she got sick.
They are collecting the donations from the community.
Anyone interested in donating can checks payable to Erica and Josh Byrd there.
For more information, contact Walgreens at 423 -286-2270.