Declan Powers and Haylee York met at the church their families attend. Beyond their play dates and day-to-day activities together, one special day for them is the annual Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) Walk4Hay O2breathe event. It takes place on Sept. 21 in St. Louis to raise funds and awareness for pulmonary hypertension (PH).

Haylee was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension when she was 4 years old. Today, she takes three life sustaining medications to lower the pressure in her lungs. Declan is registered for the 1-mile fundraising walk named after Haylee to spread the word about PH. “When Haylee and Declan met it was an instant connection,” shares his mom, Diana. After they played at Chuck E. Cheese, Diana recalls that, “He even made me stop to buy her flowers!”

Diana says they participate in Walk4Hay to “raise money to help doctors gain more knowledge about her debilitating disease, help others and hopefully one day find a cure so she can grow up into an amazing young lady.”

“This walk means so much. Declan adores this sweet little girl. I want nothing more than to watch her grow up, to live a full life, go to dances, drive, graduate and live life the way she deserves. We have to gain more awareness and knowledge of how to treat this disease. That’s why we walk,” says Diana.

Declan and Diana’s walk page asks their friends, families and acquaintances to “help us help others” and to “SHOW these kiddos LOVE and support!” Sign up to participate in PHA’s Walk4Hay alongside Declan, Haylee and their families by visiting PHAevents.org/Hay.