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East Tennessee families run in Sprint for the Prints, help those grieving

East Tennessee families participated in the Fifth Annual Sprint for the Prints 5k run.

Families coping with the death of child got the chance to remember their kids on Saturday with the Fifth Annual Sprint for the Prints 5k Run.

The event raises money for the Precious Prints Project.

University of Tennessee students in nursing started the project five years ago to give parents a piece of their child to hang on to.

RELATED: UT College of Nursing to announced $15M fundraising campaign

They send finger print necklaces to families who’ve lost children.

"I wear his print around my neck every day,” Miranda Zolman said.

Her family is running for her son Elliott. He was stillborn in January of 2016. She and her husband are recipients of the Precious Prints project.

"When I opened the mailbox and saw the print, it was just the most amazing way to remember him every day," Zolman said.

The project has grown drastically in the last five years.

“Back then we were selling chicken biscuits up the street, trying just to fund one more print," Caity Hubrig, a nurse at the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, said.

Now, more than 500 families wear fingerprints around their necks.

"It's a real gift they've given us," Zolman said.

Hubrig watched the project come full circle. She ran as a nurse on Saturday, but helped to start the project as a student.

"I went out there and I started running and the more that I thought about the kids, the more encouragement I got to run faster," Hubrig said.

For most of these families, the race is a day of reflection, but's it's also a chance to reconnect with the people who changed their lives.

"The families get to meet the nurses that they haven't seen since the long stay in the hospital and often those nurses have a significant impact," Emily Spence, a student organizer, said.

Hubrig said the families she meets make a lasting impression on her life as well.

“We still remember them, we still think about them and just wish them the best and always think of the smiles that their kids gave us," she said.

The Zolman family is expecting Elliott's baby brother in just four weeks.

All the proceeds from the race make is possible for other families just like the Zolmans to get prints of their kids too.

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