A Ewing Observer file photo of Ewing residents Tommy and Ashley Palmisano with son Luca, a lung transplant recipient, and daughter Ariana.

On Sunday, Nov. 5, Mercer County Park will be filled with locals running and walking 3.1 miles to raise money for a local child battling a deadly disease.

Ewing residents Ashley and Tommy Palmisano are hosting the Team Luca 5K Run/Walk to raise money for their son, Luca, through Children’s Organ Transplant Association. COTA is a nonprofit organization that helps families avoid financial ruin by covering costs associated with children’s organ transplants.

Luca was diagnosed with Alveolar Capillary Dysplasia shortly after he was born in 2016. He underwent life-saving lung transplant surgery at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, but there is a likelihood he will need another lung transplant in the future.

In order to offset the astronomical medical expenses — the cost of a transplant can often exceed $500,000, according to COTA — the Palmisano family reached out to the community. Ewing and Mercer County residents delivered in a big way, raising more than $10,000 thus far.

Funds from the race will help the Palmisanos pay for Luca’s medical expenses that aren’t covered by insurance.

Since the Ewing Observer last reported on Luca in April, his family says he is doing well. His immunosuppression helps keep him safe from organ rejection; However, the longevity of lung transplants is low. Luca is also at much higher risk of getting sick than other children. While illnesses such as colds aren’t too much of a worry for most children, the illnesses are incredibly severe for Luca.

The Palmisanos hope the 5K race and walk will bring the community together to support their son in a fun way.

The Team Luca 5K Run/Walk will be held on Sunday, Nov. 5 in the West Picnic Area of Mercer County Park. The 3.1-mile course is a mix of trails and pavement. The race begins at 9:30 a.m. and costs $25 to enter.

Visit the race website to register. For more information about Luca, visit cotaforteamlucap.com.