BALTIMORE - Jalen Tarter performs a balancing act. At the age of 4, he's holding steady. But it wasn't that long ago when his parents thought they might sink, when they got a bill in the mail for $35,137.40.
"Nobody has that much money just sitting in the bank. If that was the case, we wouldn't even be talking," said Ofc. Robert Tarter, Jalen’s dad.
Counting up the dollars didn't make sense. When Jalen was two years old, he had a severe asthma attack and had to be airlifted from out of Ocean City to Baltimore, a 35-minute ride.
"You could see his stomach and chest heaving just to get air in,” Tarter said.
When Jalen is breathing easy, he's on the monkey bars with the strength of a police officer holding him high. Tarter has been a Baltimore police officer for 22 years. When that big bill arrived for the helicopter ride, there was a Signal 13 call out for help.
"In many instances, that might bury someone," said Martin Knott, Signal 13 board member.
The Signal 13 Foundation was created over 30 years ago to help Baltimore City police officers, even when the problem is personal.
"Because they put their lives on the line every day, we're more inclined to feel for them,” said Knott. “It's a little bit different job."
And in this case, the Signal 13 Foundation kicked in $5,000 to help with the bill. The FOP also came up with another $5,000. The helicopter company reduced the payment to $17,000.
"His mother and I had to come up with a little over $7,000. It's better than paying $35,000," Tarter said.
Jalen and Officer Tarter are part of the reason why 30 city police officers will run the Baltimore 10-Miler to support the Signal 13 Foundation on Saturday, June 14. The officer with the fastest feet gets $3 for each runner he or she passes.
ABC2 News reporter Cheryl Conner has her own challenge to run and pass as many people as possible to raise money for Girls on the Run. The program empowers young girls to be comfortable in their own skin and trains them to run a 5K race.
"One of the things we're so happy about at Corrigan Sports Enterprises is we have an opportunity to give back to some really great charities and be involved in some really great charities," said Lee Corrigan, president, Corrigan Sports Enterprises.
Girls on the Run has expanded into Baltimore City schools, thanks in part to the donations made from the Baltimore 10-Miler. The race starts at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the Baltimore Zoo. Click here for information on how to sign-up.