Inspire Forward Motion

“There were so many emotions I felt after such an event. I was pretty much blown away by people and what they will do for a cause they believe in,” said Jeanne, race organizer. More than 150 supporters and participants showed up despite the near 100 degree temperatures to support the Walk, Run, and Roll 5K & 10K, held in Cumming, Georgia in early June. In the sweltering southern heat, I saw race participants push their wheelchairs in a course that was an uphill battle. With each push, I witnessed an ode to determination.

There were first time “rollers”. One participant took a hard fall from his hand cycle, late in the race, and my son assisted him back on his bike. My teenage boy was somewhat nervous, and attempted to make small talk. As he assisted the participant back on his bike, he asked, “How long have you been competing in 5K’s?” Surprised by the man's response, “I’ve only been in my wheelchair for eleven months.” Instantly my son was engaged and was compelled by this man’s bravery. They crossed the finish line together.

“Eleven months, Mom. He was not even paralyzed for a year and he was already competing in a 5K”, my son explained. Both my son and I marveled at this man’s courage! Can you imagine how much fortitude it takes to overcome a new injury alone and then rally the strength to push your body even further? This roller is my new hero! Humbled by this experience, my son will undoubtedly reflect upon this in days to come. 

I personally was grateful for the opportunity to connect with my fellow wheelchair friends. It’s really challenging to put into words the kinship I experience when given the chance to talk with a peer. It is intrinsically rewarding. At the end of the day, I came to understand that the benefits of this event, both mental and physical, went way beyond earning a T-shirt! Runners and rollers captured any doubts and leveraged their fear to inspire forward motion. We could all take a cue from the participants of this 5k.

My take away - Be strong, be present and steadfast!


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