WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Demi Reilly is a typical 9-year-old girl, energetic and always on the move. But unlike most youngsters, moving around wasn't so easy for her.
Demi was born with a rare leg disorder that required special surgery. She and her family traveled from Australia to West Palm Beach for doctors at the Paley Institute to do the procedure. Her first visit was eight years ago.
"It was a really big thing for her to go through, says her Mom,
Her father, Simon is the fire chief in Palm Beach, Queensland, Australia, and during her first surgery, he reached out to the town of Palm Beach Fire Chief and began a friendship that has turned into a support system for the family and Demi that continues today.
"We are connected through our business, but we are also connected through our service, what we do is no different in Australia or the United States, " says Palm Beach Fire Chief Darrel Donatto.
The town of Palm Beach's firefighters has donated everything the family needs while staying in Palm Beach County for Demi's surgeries. They have given time, housing even diapers.
"It's like having a second family, " says Demi's mother.
This weekend the firefighters will be taking on a new role as Demi's cheerleaders. The girl and her mom will participate in the Palm Beach Marathon's 5K Fun Run, and they will be on the sidelines supporting Demi once again.
"You can't help but be amazed by her true grit to push through what she's had to push through, " says Donatto.
Demi will be one of 50 patients participating in Sunday's FITTEAM Palm Beaches Maraton and Half Marathon.