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posted: 4/25/2014 2:38 PM

Easter Seals turns runners into super heroes

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  • Brinley Olson, now 18 months old, inspires her mother, Tiffany, to take part in her second Run for the Kids: Superhero Hustle to benefit Easter Seals of DuPage and Fox Valley. Brinley celebrates after the 2013 race.

      Brinley Olson, now 18 months old, inspires her mother, Tiffany, to take part in her second Run for the Kids: Superhero Hustle to benefit Easter Seals of DuPage and Fox Valley. Brinley celebrates after the 2013 race.
    Courtesy of Easter Seals DuPage and Fox Valley

 
By Julie Jancius
Easter Seals DuPage and Fox Valley

Three-time Iron Man Aaron Rapier started running to bring awareness and raise funds for Easter Seals DuPage and Fox Valley in 2008. On Saturday, May 3, he will continue his efforts by running for superhero kids at the 11th annual Run for the Kids: Superhero Hustle.

At 7 years old, Rapier's brother David suffered a brain injury that left him needing a wheelchair and tracheostomy.

"David is not going to walk or talk again, but receiving therapies at Easter Seals ensures that his wrists do not begin to turn inward," Rapier said. "Therapy also helps strengthen David's ankles and muscles so that he can move from his walker to his bed."

People of all ages, abilities and skill levels are welcome to participate in the Superhero Hustle. The 5K run and 2-mile walk through Villa Park will benefit the mission of Easter Seals DuPage and Fox Valley to enable infants, children and adults with disabilities to achieve maximum independence, and to provide support for the families who love and care for them.

An addition to the race this year is that participants are encouraged to dress as their favorite superhero or create an identity of their own. Registrants also are encouraged to join a team to support an Easter Seals superhero.

Last year's top fundraiser, Tiffany Olson, runs for her 18-month-old daughter, Brinley. This year, Olson is on the event committee and plans to put together a team of 50 participants called "The Brin-Credibles."

"This run is the most fun, easy and accessible," Olson said. "Everyone is here for the same reason -- the kids. There are many parents who are unsure of their child's future; however, when you see children and teens cross the finish line after years of therapy, with their therapist waiting there to celebrate with them, it gives you the hope, encouragement and support you need to keep going."

Olson said that soon after Brinley was born, she received a difficult diagnosis.

"We walked into Easter Seals as scared and uncertain parents, but found an immediate kinship with others who shared similar experiences. Run for the Kids is a continuation of this kinship," she said. "In life, it is easy to take simple things like your child's development for granted. But at Easter Seals every small accomplishment is a big deal and events like the run allow the entire community to celebrate the achievements of our superhero kids."

All preregistered participants will receive a T-shirt. The day includes awards, refreshments, entertainment, face-painting, kids' dash and a silent auction. Advance packet pickup for preregistered participants will be available at The Runners Soul, Elmhurst, and Whole Foods Market, Willowbrook.

To register, visit eastersealsdfvr.org/runforthekids2014.

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