PALO ALTO (KPIX) – Richard Nares’s heart and soul is his young son Emilio. The boy died from cancer just before his 6th birthday.

Now Richard runs using the heartbreak to bring hope to others.

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“My son is with me in my heart and in my mind,” says Nares.

Emilio Nares with his mom and dad.

He began his 1700-mile run for the Emilio Nares Foundation in June.

Starting in Seattle, as he heads to San Diego he made a pit stop at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto.

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He hopes to raise awareness of childhood cancer and raise funds for programs that help patients. At each stop along the way he’s dropping off shirts designed specifically for child cancer patients with snaps on the shoulder and sleeve.

“It just opens up to where they get their chemo or blood drawn,” he says. “It’s such a simple idea because before this shirt they’d have to lift or take their shirt off and our 3-year-old son was afraid or upset or embarrassed.”

In every step, every stride, every stop, Nares says his son is fueling him forward to the finish line — back to his hometown of San Diego where he’ll complete his journey in August.

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“He’s motivating me to do more for children.”