BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Thousands of people in Baltimore will be lacing up their sneakers on Sunday, and it’s all for a good cause. The annual Kidney Walk is set at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

Ron Matz has more on this year’s walk and one family’s gift of life.

The 1.6 mile walk winds through the Maryland Zoo. Winnie the penguin will be wearing her tux. Thousands of others will wear their T-shirts and their hearts.

“In the beginning we didn’t know what was going on,” said Erica Jones. “They thought it was lupus. They thought it was this, they thought it was that. Finally it came down to the kidneys. My kidneys were only functioning at 14 percent,” she said. “I was very fortunate not have to go through any dialysis.”

Six years ago Jones received a kidney from her brother Troy.

“I’m close with my family, and I explained to my mother and brother what was going on,” Jones said. “Immediately he just stepped up to the plate. It was like just ‘Tell me when and where. What’s mine is yours, and that was that.’”

The surgery was performed at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

“She’s my best friend. We’ve always been close. It was a no brainer to me. I couldn’t stand to have to see her suffer,” said Troy Tillery, kidney donor.

Their team for the Kidney Walk is Team Gucci.

“Last year, we put the team together,” Tillery said. “My wife’s the team captain. We’ve already topped our goal from last year. We’ve beat it by $300, and a lot of people will register the day of, so our total should actually go up.”

There will be activities for kids and much more.

“We’ll have some animal ambassadors out. The guests get a chance to see some of our on grounds animals they wouldn’t necessarily see throughout the day. There’s a nice little tour in the morning. It’s a great event. Come for the walk and stay for the day,” said Amy Eveleth, Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

Jones is doing very well thanks to a great brother and family.

“When I was getting tested a lot of people said to me ‘Just because you are siblings doesn’t mean it will be a match,’ but I said ‘It would only be right for it to be a match,’ and it all worked out,” Tillery said.

“We’ve just truly been blessed with our relationship and our friendship,” Jones said. “Even with our family, his wife, her mom and their kids. Everybody that’s here. I couldn’t ask for a better brother.”

WJZ‘s Jessica Kartalija will emcee the walk’s opening ceremonies. WJZ is a proud sponsor of the Kidney Walk as part of our Continuing Community Commitment. For more information, click here.


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