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Friday, 21 October 2016 10:24

Your Chariot Awaits

By | Sports
SARATOGA SPRINGS ­— What was your parent’s biggest worry when you were four years old? Sending you off to pre-school? Helping you distinguish colors, letters, and shapes? Or even learning the concept of time? These worries were obsolete for Kim and Lori Rossiter. Their daughter, Ainsley, was diagnosed with Infantile Neuroazonal Dystrophy (INAD) at the tender age of four years old. INAD is an extremely rare terminal illness which slowly causes global paralysis. There are less than twenty known active cases in the United States. In order to help their daughter cope with this dreadful disease Kim and Lori took their daughter on her first road race in Virginia in 2008. Her positive energy was infectious to the other runners around her. This led to the first of 100 races that Ainsley has since completed, most notably 20 half-marathons, as well as the 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2015 Marine Corps Marathons in Washington D.C. This had led to the founding of Ainsley’s Angels of America. According to Jill Burwell, ambassador for the organization’s Adirondack chapter, “our focus is to spread awareness of inclusion as well as general awareness of the special needs community.” This is accomplished by providing individuals with paralysis-associated disabilities a chance to be active by pushing them in chariots throughout the duration of an entire road race. It provides those with mobility disabilities and opportunity to stay active amongst fellow runners. Recalls Burwell, “I learned a lot about this organization through the Ainsley’s Angels-Power to Push journey. It made me want to become an ambassador for such a wonderful group.” The Power to Push initiative began in 2013. Through Ainsley’s Angels then eight year old Seamus Evans, born with cerebral palsy, was provided a running chariot. This granted him the opportunity to participate in road races with his father. The organization has been a part of various local road races, the most recent being the Burnt Hills Ballston Lake Rotary Club’s annual Apple Run. The Rotary Club managed to raise $2,000 for Ainsley’s Angels. This money will go toward the purchase of two racing chariots, giving even more people with mobility-associated disabilities the opportunity to be athletes. The organization’s biggest event each year is the Firecracker 4 mile race in Saratoga Springs. Last year the organization had six angel teams, the biggest turnout for the event thus far. Ainsley’s Angels is located across thirty states in the US and continues to grow. Their next race will be the Christopher Dailey Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day in Saratoga Springs. The organization is always looking for more opportunities to speak with various groups and organizations about this tremendous cause and help spread their mission of inclusion awareness. Burwell encourages others to visit the group’s website www.ainsleysangels.org to learn more about this tremendous organization.
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