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Ellie’s Army Foundation: 4th Annual Dirty Socks 5K Run & Walkathon To Benefit Children and Young Adults

February 17, 2022

Ellie Levy’s life was about teaching everyone about compassion and caring - while suffering from cystic fibrosis (CF), a terminal genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs.

What Ellie and her family saw, from the beginning, were people hurting - and it affected all of them in a way that many of us could ever understand. During Ellie’s many hospitalizations, Stacey and Brian Levy began to meet far too many parents struggling to keep their children alive due to limited financial resources.

This is something that many in this nation never have the chance to see - and convey it to those who may one day do something about a parent who can’t afford to pay for life-saving medications because they have no money for copayments, or for crucial nutritional supplements or necessary therapies, because they were not covered by insurance.

Parents should not have to choose between keeping their child alive and paying their electric or mortgage/rent bills. So, in 2001, in response to what they saw and watch others endure, the Levy’s created the Reach for the Stars Foundation in 2001 to benefit individuals with CF.

Fourteen years later, in March of 2014, Ellie was 22 years old and suffering from the end stages of cystic fibrosis. She received a double-lung transplant, but within a week, her new lungs were failing and she was re-listed for another set of lungs. Against all odds, she endured a second transplant on April 15th.

During her recovery, Ellie met another young woman who also needed a lung transplant, but was unable to meet the financial criteria to be accepted into the transplant program. In that moment, Ellie decided that when she was well, she would focus her efforts on providing other young people with the monies necessary to stay alive.

Sadly, on November 5th, 2014, Ellie Levy passed away. In her honor, the memory of Ellie Levy indeed lives on - as her foundation name was changed to Ellie’s Army Foundation in 2017. The foundation has expanded its mission to assist not only those afflicted with cystic fibrosis, but children and young adults suffering from all critical illnesses.

Dirty Socks 5K & Walkathon - Why Dirty Socks?
The inspiration behind the “Dirty Socks” event was Ellie’s surgeon (Gustavo), who told her in order to survive her lung transplant, she would have to walk. Despite the pain, Ellie walked and walked and walked, often exceeding her surgeon’s expectations - and to prove her hard work, Gustavo wanted to see the bottom of her socks. If they were dirty, she was doing what was told. So, despite the pain, Ellie walked and walked and walked. She was a Warrior!

“Ellie gave her surgeon a bag with her dirty socks in it. He said that he will keep her socks in his office for the rest of his life. Ellie inspired him with her determination, her desire to live and her fight.”

All children in the hospital wear medical socks and must walk to get well. Sometimes they can only take a few steps. At the Dirty Socks 5K Run & Walkathon we walk for them. We walk for Ellie. By taking part in the Dirty Socks 5K & Walkathon, you are walking for those who fight the fight every day - and paying tribute to Ellie Levy, who helped to bring awareness to a disease that many knew nothing about.

Ellie’s Army Foundation is hosting its 4th Annual Dirty Socks 5K Run & Walkathon to benefit children and young adults battling life-threatening illnesses. This year the race will once again be held both Virtually and In-Person.

Virtual Race -
In-Person Event - Aventura Library, 2930 NE 199th St, Aventura, FL 33180

Virtual Race – January 17 – February 27, 2022
In-Person Race – February 27, 2022, Registration opens at 7:00 AM. Walkers begin at 8:00 AM, Runners begin at 8:15 AM. Zumba begins at 9:15 AM.

Ellie’s Army Foundation provides financial resources for families of children and young adults battling life-threatening illnesses. Ellie’s Army Foundation helps pay for medical expenses, insurance copayments, therapies, or daily living expenses such as housing payments, energy costs, utility bills, etc. Now more than ever these families are struggling. Be a Warrior, come get your socks dirty!

For more information visit

Stacey Levy-Founder
(305) 756-0068

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