My town, Andover,MA, has an annual Thanksgiving morning tradition called the Feaster 5. In it, a person can run/walk the 5K or 5 mile race. The event also includes a kids’ K which includes races around the track for the younger children.
Several years ago, possibly 2003, we attended this event as a family. (My husband and children currently do the 5K each year.) My brother-in-law was joining us that year as he was “home” for the holiday weekend from his recent deployment in Afghanistan. My two children were little at the time and sporting their “#1” shirts as they were about to participate in the kids’ K. Therefore, we caught the eye of a reporter for the local newspaper. However, in the write-up, I was referred to as the mere “keeper of the coats”. This really bothered me as I refuse to let this Ataxia confine me to only being a spectator.
Therefore, I started looking into alternatives. After discussions with my neurologist and his suggestion of a jogging stroller, I was determined to participate in the next year’s event. So I found a used stroller, loaded it it up with some heavy rocks for ballast and put a large doll wearing an Ataxia T-shirt in the seat. For the next several years I “ran” the 5K but currently no longer participate, as the race has become too large and strollers are now cordoned off to the very back. However, I may now walk the 5K with Denim.
So the moral of this story is that I refuse to succumb to only being the “keeper of the coats”. Yes, I can not participate how I once did (I ran track in high school and participated in the Feaster 5’s predecessor, the Turkey Trot.) However, we CAN each work with what we have and participate in our own way.
I recently read a very interesting article, http://guitarpr.com/guitarist-ian-c-bouras-transcends-rare-neurological-disorder-with-unique-musical-style/, which emphasized this fact. This man found a different way to participate in what he enjoyed.