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“Fun Run” For All! Kids With Cerebral Palsy Join Race With Help Of Student Athletes.

No matter what age we are, we all just want to be included.

Thanks to the efforts of some Jordan High School student athletes, the smiles on the faces of 9-year-old Lucas Myrick and 8-year-old Elsa Dent are a little bit bigger. On September 16th, two members of The Beetdiggers, a high school football team, showed up to push Lucas in his wheelchair in the Park Lane Elementary School PTA’s annual Fun Run.

“They ran pretty fast,” Lucas said.

It wasn’t just the football team that showed up to support the event. Members of the high school cross-country team joined in on the fun and ran alongside an eager Elsa who participated in the Fun Run using her walker.

“I ran super-duper fast,” Elsa said.

Elsa and Lucas have cerebral palsy, a condition that limits their physical ability. However, their bright spirits and positive outlook outshine their diagnosis.

Lucas hasn’t always looked forward to the Fun Run event, as he would often come in last place. His mother, Janell Myrick, said when he was younger they didn’t know if he would walk or talk given his health challenges. 

“He can’t be as fast as his peers, he’ll never be as fast as his peers,” Janell said.

Elsa’s mother, Emily Dent, said doctors didn’t give them much hope regarding Elsa’s health. But her daughter has defied the odds.

“It’s been amazing to watch her grow and turn into this awesome, determined, stubborn young lad,” said Emily.

When Janell mentioned Lucas’ interest in the Fun Run to a Canyons School District colleague, that individual immediately called Jordan High Athletic Director Joel Sundquist – and he was happy to assist.

“We were just super eager to help out,” said Joel. “Park Lane is part of our community.”

Joel reached out to the football coach who asked two players to team up with Lucas at the Fun Run to push him at the event. The run is about 1.07 miles.

But the athletes did so much more than simply push Lucas in the Fun Run – they formed a bond with him. In fact, they even came up with a new team name for their trio. 

“The team now is the Wheelies!” Lucas said. “I got the idea from the wheelchair.”

The players pushed Lucas at a nice, steady pace. Momentum was going so well that toward the end of the course, Lucas got out of his wheelchair and wanted to give running with his new friends a try.

“I was beating one of them on my legs,” Lucas said. “I was running ahead of him. He couldn’t even keep up with me!”

From here on out, the PTA’s Fun Run will never be the same. Lucas was NOT last and, in this moment, he soared.

“They were able to include somebody who is always usually last,” Janell said. “He was like everybody else for that moment in time.”

Elsa’s mother asked her before the race if she wanted to use her motorized power chair to help her go faster but she declined. After Lucas crossed the finish line, Elsa was not too far behind. She was determined to finish the race on her own. And she did – she ran the entire course using her walker. 

“I’m cheering for her, and everybody behind me started cheering for her,” Emily said.

“I love the Fun Run,” Elsa said. “It was really great, especially right at the beginning, and she was behind everybody and she didn’t even care. She was just excited to be doing it herself,” Emily said.

Watch students cross the finish line below, and don’t forget to share.

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