PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The Hood to Coast relay returns Friday with several teams running for charities, including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — where families and their children can get life-saving care without spending a dime.

One relay team, Heroes Latinos, is joining the race to help St. Jude while representing the Latino community.

“I started running for St. Jude because I lost my first childhood friend that I made when I came to the United States, and I started recruiting some of my friends and family to join us and work on St. Jude’s mission,” Heroes Latinos Co-Captain Cecilia Pelayo said.

So far, Heroes Latinos has raised $22,000 of their $50,000 goal.

Heroes Latinos team member, Carlos Hernandez, says St. Jude’s mission inspires him to keep running.

“When you get tired, when you can’t go that extra step, that extra mile, we start thinking about the families that are going through this and our pain does not begin to compare to what they’re going through so, it pushes you to the next mile and the one after,” Hernandez said. “We’re raising awareness that no one should have to go through that. We won’t stop fighting, we won’t stop running, we won’t stop fundraising until no family has to go through that. We’re proud to do it for the Latino community.”

Team member, Matilde Flores, added, “the motivation, knowing that we’re doing something good for the community, but also as a parent, I cannot imagine what parents go through just by knowing that their kids have something like this. And it doesn’t matter whether they’re kids or adults, no one should go through this by themselves. So, kids are fighting, they are the real heroes.”