Sebastian, who is a very determined 19 year-old living with Cerebral Palsy, tried to enter a race as a contestant in 2009 but the organizers wouldn’t allow it. He then decided with his therapist and 30 other special needs children to organize their own all-inclusive race.
The hardworking young man trained with his walker for three years until he finally achieved his goal of walking 1.5 miles.
“It bothers me to be told I can’t do anything,” says Sebastian, who is quadriparesic (has muscle weakness affecting all four limbs).
Three annual races so far have raised money for a summer camp funded by Centro María de los Ángeles (CMA), a non-profit organization in Puerto Rico founded in 2001. It began as an effort by parents whose kids have functional disabilities caused by diseases like CP or spina bifida. Its goal was to organize a summer camp that offers individual assistance and group participation in structured recreational activities adapted to their conditions. These include art, dance, swimming, gymnastics, and field trips — like the experiences that most children enjoy in a summer camp.
The camp, named VIDALEGRE, is probably the only summer recreational option for these 30 kids who work hard through therapies during the entire year. They also go to school to maximize their potential and achieve some degree of functional independence. VIDALEGRE improves quality of life in all of Puerto Rico by giving these kids the opportunity to go out and share in a protected environment, so they can be part of their communities, contributing with their unique skills and talents.
“We’ve been doing this race for three years now and it’s been very inspirational for everybody involved,” Sebastian’s mother, Nora Vallejo, told the Good News Network. “This year was very important for us because after trying for two years, Sebastian finally achieved his goal of walking the entire 3K.”
Ford Motor Co. sponsored the race and created a website where you can see that the video has been viewed in 96 countries, so far. The site www.endlessrace.com collects donations for virtual miles run in a never-ending contest they are calling the Endless Race.