Just like typical siblings, our daughters with cerebral palsy would watch the activities of the older sisters and beg to participate.
Fortunately, when little sister wanted to join in on a 5K, big sister found a way! The very first community race makes me cringe at the memory. It’s an absolute miracle no one was hurt and the push chair didn’t break! But they sure had a blast!
After mixed reviews if that first 5K qualified as “successful”, we spent some time researching ways to obtain a running chair to safely try again. Thanks to some generous donors, they each have their own running chair. The second time she chose a Color Run and it was a big hit! Shortly after this run we were introduced to Ainsley’s Angels.
Ainsley’s Angels is a non profit group who desires for everyone to have opportunity to participate in endurance events.
When we first connected with our local chapter of AA we recognized the group functions as a family…with each race being a bit of a family reunion. Our daughters LOVED being the “pullers”/riders. They have been hooked on participating as part of the Ainsley’s Angels family ever since! Ainsley’s Angels of America states that
athletes “Roll With the Wind” in life and in endurance events…our inspiration and our purpose. Anyone with a disAbility that prevents them from racing on their own may participate as an Angel Athlete-rider. Like all of our Angels, there is no fee to register to become an Angel Athlete-rider. On race day, we fit each rider for a chair to use during the event and pair them with an Angel Runner (unless the rider has a specific runner request). These athletes have the honor of pushing or being pulled by our Angel Athlete-riders. New Angel Runners are placed with an experienced an similar paced Angel Runner for their first few races. This ensures the safety of the athlete-riders and gives the Angel Runner an opportunity to become familiar with the equipment. Sign up HERE
Without a doubt, one of the most anticipated pieces to running as an angel is to add a medal to their collection!
It’s really fun to see their display grow. What a fun addition to a teen’s room! The girls enjoy how each medal represents a different race they participated in. They feel a lot of pride and enjoy the memories of each event.
It’s those relationships from past races that create the anticipation for another Ainsley’s Angels race.
It isn’t just the riders that benefit from those relationships, it’s the whole family. There is something so wonderful, and humbling, about someone thrilled to have us there. It is really cool to watch them run off, already enjoying their banter and teasing, before they leave the Starting Line.
With over 60 cities in over 30 states I hope you are able to enjoy your local chapter of Ainsley’s Angels as a runner, rider, or other volunteer. Find your closest location here!