While our last post is quickly shooting up to be one of the top posts, I don’t like to linger in negativity for too long. I will be doing some further research on childcare for children with disabilities and the rights we have as parents, and I will be sure to pass that on since so many have to deal with these issues.
Today, I’d like to focus on something that is simply amazing. A few weeks ago, a special needs group that I am a part of posted about an organization called “I Run 4.” Not too long after, I began seeing the group shared among many of the pages I frequent dealing with children who have special needs. I finally visited the site and joined the Facebook group, and I can’t tell you just how moved I was. Tears began to flow and my heart could just burst.
”I Run 4″ is an organization that looks to increase awareness of individuals with a variety of illnesses and disabilities. They pair runners with an individual, who often times, is not physically able to run. The runner can then dedicate their runs/competitions to the individual they have been paired with. This gives runners a new motivation to keep pushing and the individuals they are paired with hope that someone out there cares more than they know.
When I first saw the website, I thought, “Wow, what a cool idea and great way to increase awareness.” I signed Braxton up to be matched with a runner. I then joined the Facebook Group, and as I waited for Braxton to be matched I was overwhelmed by what I saw.
This group is extremely active! Posts can quickly become lost because it seems like there are hundreds of people posting every minute of everyday. But, there is so much hope and so much inspiration all day long. Right now, if you can believe it, there are more runners than there are children signed up to be matched. Yes, you read that right. In fact, the runners are incredibly anxious to be paired with an individual and learn more about them. These people are sooo willing to learn about our children and share our stories. There are signs, shirts, tons of photos, and so much more these people are doing that motivates them but also brings awareness to many different syndromes.
So many different syndromes are being represented. Everything from the well known conditions like Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and Autism to the more rare conditions like Braxton’s Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome and others I had yet to learn about.
Every day you see some new tragedy being reported on the news, so it’s incredibly refreshing to see this group and the people who are a part of it, and it definitely restores faith in humanity. I read through the posts as often as I can and I’m just in awe of these people who go out of their way to find new ways to raise awareness. The mutual support is just unfathomable. Parents post pictures of their children cheering their runner on, reaching milestones for their runner. The runners post pictures of the miles they’ve run, the photos they’ve created, the shirts they’ve made, and cheer on their “coach” with every milestone they reach.
Braxton was matched with Andrea, from North Dakota, and she’s been awesome! She ‘liked’ our Facebook Page and she cheers Braxton on with each therapy session and the baby steps he is making. And the other day when she wasn’t sure if she even wanted to go out for a run she got a babysitter over to watch her own kids and went out to run for Braxton. This is the kind of motivation and mutual support this group inspires.
The love and hope that surrounds this group and all the people who belong to it is just wonderful. I can’t say enough great things about the people who envisioned this project and those who participate. If you have a child with special needs, I highly encourage you to join this group and have your child matched with a runner. The runners are all chomping at the bit to meet your child! We were matched within a couple of days and for the runners it is taking a few weeks because so many are ready and willing to run for someone who simply cannot. But trust me, it is SO worth the wait!!
Thank you to everyone at “I Run4″ for all of your hard work and for making this organization a success!