They may not have known the 5-year-old personally, but community members rallied behind Hyde Talbot on Saturday at Sawnee Mountain Preserve.
The fourth annual Hike for Hyde was filled with family, friends and neighbors of Talbot, who suffers from atypical hemolytic-uremic syndrome, more commonly known as Atypical HUS.
Leslie Bishop left her home in Clemson, S.C., to attend the event with her husband and son. The family is friends with Talbot’s aunt and uncle, the same uncle who donated his kidney to Talbot in February 2011.
“We just came down to support and bring some stuff for the raffle,” Bishop said. “I know everything that Hyde’s been going through and the family has been going through, so if we can help to do anything to find a cure for this disease, then that’s what we want to try to do.”
Atypical HUS causes a mutation in the gene that produces Factor H, which helps control the immune system. Less than 600 people in the United States have the condition.
As a result, Hyde Talbot struggled with kidney failure, severe high blood pressure, anemia and low platelets. He went through six months of near constant hospitalization and three years of in-home dialysis treatments.
But he has done well, the family says, since undergoing the kidney transplant in combination with an experimental drug therapy.
It was more than those who knew Talbot and his family that offered a helping hand Saturday.
Some who happened to be at the preserve chipped in money and bought concessions. One man donated the shoes he wore climbing up the mountain to help with the event’s boot toss game.
The outpouring of support from the community is always helpful said Talbot’s mother, Phyllis. More than 100 people who were at the preserve for a walk also decided to join in.
“They just want to help out, plus there’s a lot of stuff for the kids to do for a reasonable price,” she said. “It’s just great. It helps us kind of turn a negative into a positive.”
Phyllis Talbot said the hike had raised nearly $26,000, with more likely to trickle in. That brings the event’s four-year total to more than $110,000.
Kellie Milford has been taking part since the beginning.
In addition to helping family — Milford is Phyllis Talbot’s cousin — the hike is fun for her own children, Reid, 11, and Cleo, 7.
“My daughter just said that it’s such a good thing to raise money for Hyde. And of course, they love the jumping house,” she said. “It’s such a rare disease or affliction that they need all the support they can get.”
Besides cotton candy, hot dogs, inflatables and crafts, the hike featured activities throughout the preserve for children, including a bug scavenger hunt and an art station.
Pam Fulkerson came with her husband and two children.
“Hyde lives across the street from us,” she said. “It’s a great time of year, nice weather and lots to do for the kids.”