Give the Gift of Running...Literally!

I've wrote about my run buddy Liam on these pages a number of times. I met Liam through I Run 4 Michael which matches special needs individuals with runners. They ask so very little but both sides get so much more in return. The "little" part is you get matched with someone online and you simply post photos and encouragement (they prefer) weekly on their private Facebook page. There are some amazing, heartwarming, and sometimes heartbreaking stories (so much in return!)

My run buddy Liam was born with hydrocephalus which is "water on the brain." Liam has had over 150 surgeries (his parents have stopped counting) on the brain which has him highly susceptible to infection. He has cerebral palsy, scoliosis, and is blind and confined to a wheelchair. He and his parents Joan and Fabian are "pure gold."

I started with weekly posts on my runs and races on the Facebook page. Like many online relationships, I got to know him and his parents better. I was able to finally meet him last October at his 18th birthday party surprising him and his mom in San Diego. Joan and I discussed back and forth the idea of Liam racing some day. We realized that dream this month at the Carlsbad 5000 borrowing a "Team Hoyt" racing blade from his friend Cormac (and his mom Cindy.) You can see the million dollar smile and amazing GoPro footage of his Carlsbad 5000 experience HERE.

Just like I got hooked in my first race, my first marathon, and first triathlon; Liam now has the "need for speed" and racing again.

I know his parents were reluctant to reach out to others to help make this dream continue, but I can only imagine the financial costs associated with all the surgeries and seemingly monthly visits to the hospital.


We've teamed with Ainsley's Angels to help raise money for Liam to have his own racing blade. This won't just be for races. Joan and her husband used to run when they started dating. Liam's current wheelchair is "high tech" and very expensive, but it's not made for running or races. Joan dreams of not only racing but being able to do something she loves (running,) and being able to do it with her son and husband.

You can donate to the Crowdrise funding page HERE.

Your karma will be returned twentyfold if you're able to contribute any amount. Thank you so much for helping Liam and his parents enjoy the gift and rewards of running. If you are a runner, and are interested in having a run buddy, join IRun4 (they are behind in their athlete registrations and it takes only a few moments a week to post your runs on their Facebook Page.)

More on Ainsley's Angels: Ainsley Rossiter was the daughter of Kim and Lori. Ainsley was diagnosed with Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (INAD) just before turning four years of age. INAD is an extremely rare terminal illness that has slowly caused global paralysis. Ainsley inspired her parents to create Ainsley's Angels. Like Team Hoyt, they match special needs kids with athletes to form special relationships and race. Ainsley lost her battle with the deadly disease last year at the age of 12, but her Angels carry on her legacy.

In addition to ensuring everyone can experience endurance events, Ainsley's Angels of America aims to build awareness about America's special needs community through inclusion in all aspects of life. Serving as advocates to providing education and participating as active members in local communities, we believe everyone deserves to be included. 


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