Sunday, May 5, 2013

Preston's March

Our little crew
By virtue of having a daughter with special needs, we have had the opportunity to become acquainted with some amazing people and their amazing and inspirational stories. Preston, a friend of Julia's from Special Olympics and other activities, has mitochondrial disease, which results in low muscle tone and developmental delays. I don't know his story very well, but for him to be able to ride a bike, he would need a specially adapted bike that would be very expensive to purchase (in excess of two thousand dollars). A Facebook page was created to help raise money for his bike, and they very quickly raised more than enough money to buy the bike. The family used the excess money that had been raised to start Preston's March for Energy, a charity whose mission is to raise money to buy adaptive bikes for children with special needs. In the short couple of years the charity has been in existence, I believe they said they have been able to donate almost 30 special bikes.

Julia finishing with others in the background
Earlier today we had the opportunity to participate for the first time in one of the charity's fundraisers, a 5k run/walk on the Delaware Greenways in the vicinity of the Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children and the outskirts of the Alapocas Run State Park in north Wilmington. Going in I had no idea what to expect, but the course was a simple one on paved trails that wandered around the area of the Blue Ball Barn, crossing under route 202, looping around the edge of a golf course, and back again.

It was an unseasonably cold and blustery day for early May, but we had a great time. In addition to the four of us, we were joined by three of our neighbor's family as well as a few other people we knew from Julia's circle of friends. It's always a lot of fun to do something like this in a group, so thanks to Cathy and Stacy and Gina for joining us on this cold early Sunday morning.

Julia and Preston
The 5k (3 miles) began at 9am, and there were perhaps 200-250 participants, ranging from serious runners to folks like us who were just out for a leisurely stroll. We quickly settled into what would be our position for the entire event - pulling up the rear. Our running joke with every volunteer we passed out on the course was "we are it, you can go home now." By the time we got to the end, we had picked up a tail of about fifteen volunteers, which was pretty funny. Given that we had some little legs with us on this walk, I am not at all disappointed to say that we walked the 3 miles in 1 hour and 3 minutes. This was a leisurely stroll for the adults, but a not inconsequential effort for Julia and Grace. They were troopers, and I am proud of them. Crossing the finish line gave the kids a real kick, as there was an ROTC color guard lining the route at the end, saluting and honoring all who finished. The girls liked that very much and were very proud of themselves.
Grace and Gina with ice cream after

It was a fun event for a great cause, and I am happy with my girls that they willingly got up early on a cold Sunday morning, with a minimum of grumbling, to do something worthwhile (and for which they received no direct benefit other than a T-shirt, a soft pretzel and an ice cream bar). I am glad our family participated, and if they do this again next year, I hope we can make it again.

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