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A memorable first York State Fair for one York County boy

Eli Runkle has been given the greenlight by doctors to attend the York State Fair after receiving several medical procedures from contracting strands of E. coli.

YORK, Pa. — It wouldn't be the York State Fair without all the different animals.

Event managers estimate about 1200 animals ranging from dairy and beef cattle to sheep and goats will be coming into the Weis Arena for the 10 days of the fair.

They say this is the time of year where 4-H, FFA, and farm owners come out to show and sell their best livestock.

For the York County 4-H Lamb Club, this was important to them as the pandemic canceled events in 2020.

"Last year it was a shame because by the time things all broke loose, a lot of these kids already had their animals, and then we couldn't complete the deal," said Ed Keeny, 4-H Lamb Club leader.

One member of the club, Eli Runkle was ecstatic he had the chance to attend the York State Fair and show off his sheep.

Runkle spent the month of June in the hospital after contracting two forms of E.Coli which left him to endure several procedures.

 "They had to do surgery to put in a dialysis port, and when the first dialysis port didn't work in his stomach, they ended up putting in a second one and between the two of them," said Brita Runkle, mother of Eli Runkle, "he ended up having seven red blood cell transfusions and three platelet transfusions just to keep his body at a somewhat normal function until the toxins could work themselves out of their body."

Runkle says Eli had already begun making preparations to show his livestock at the fair and if it wasn't for the help of the 4-H lamb club, they would not be where they are now.

"They've all stepped in to help him walk them, to help him sheer them, to help place them," she said, "anything that they could offer to help us with to make sure that we weren't left behind and that we were apart of the group."

Though the club will show many different lambs and sheep for competition, they say the real winner is Eli.

Eli will need to continue monthly medical follow-ups to ensure his kidney is healing and properly functioning. 

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