He wore a smile that covered half of his face. But even with the smile covering most of his face you could still see the determination, perseverance, and awe in his eyes. As he crossed the finish line, in the background you could see all of the triathlon attendees cheering him on. You can also see his walker in the background, fading away. Because of the encouragement and cheers from the crowd, little 8-year-old Bailey decided to finish the triathlon without his walker. He left his walker behind and ran the rest of the race completely on his own. He fell a few times along the way but he kept that large smile and made it to the finish line. A kid with cerebral palsy running to the finish line without any aid from a person or a walker should be impossible right? It is not impossible. All it took was a little encouragement and positive response from the crowd…
The video brought tears to my eyes. Not sad tears, but euphoric tears. I felt so happy for this kid I do not even know. Cheers from the crowd caused him to let go of his walker and finish the race! I am amazed! What really punched my heart was that he fell a few times (cerebral palsy impacts muscles and motor skills) yet every time he fell he got right back up and ran again, and he did this every time. It’s a positive image for kids with disabilities. I just felt so proud of him and I believed in him. And, I know nothing is impossible for anyone regardless of a minor problem or setback in your life.
Because he got off of his walker and finished the race, he will now be viewed as a role model and an astonishing figure for the disability community. He symbolizes hopes and dreams for all people, not jut people with disabilities. He is the poster child showing nothing is impossible. He shows that no matter what, you can do anything you want to do. Don’t believe what people say you can do, or what people believe you can do just believe in yourself. He will remove some of the stigma and sympathy encompassed with disabilities, and create a tad bit more of an equal and optimistic environment for them.
I have worked with kids with disabilities before and I believe they are definitely underestimated. Instead of assuming, we should get to know them individually aside from their disability. A stereotype exists that all kids with disabilities are unintelligent and helpless. But, have more faith in them and see what kind of response and output you get. Strangers simply cheered for this boy who was nearing the finish line and that simple positive response to him and his disability caused him to run to the finish line without his walker.
I want kids with disabilities to have an even chance in the world. There should be no teasing, no underestimation, no exclusion, no intimidation, no sympathy, no negativity. They should be treated like the normal kids they are. We need a respectful, positive environment.
Our response to a child impacts their lives the most. If you go into a poor neighborhood and pretend to be better than them, they won’t like you and they will start to believe they are inferior and capable of nothing in life. The same works for kids with disabilities. Approach them like babies and they will eventually begin to act like babies. But, if you approach them like the normal kids they are or can be, then they will succeed like Bailey.
Bailey pushed his walker away and ran to the finish line because of cheers from the crowd. Imagine what cheering could do in society. Someone who relies on a walker ran because of cheers. Imagine the impact cheers could have on another kid with a disability. Society should be like that race: helping our kids do the impossible, cheering them on, encouraging them when they fall, and breaking stigmas and stereotypes for kids with disabilities.
I attached the video of this remarkable and heartwarming event. Check it out. It will bring tears to your eyes no matter if you are a boy or a girl or a animal. So uplifting.