LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - If you noticed some superheros running and rolling through downtown Lake Charles on Saturday, that’s because it was the second annual Dash for Disabilities 5K.
“We want to make sure that everybody is accepted in the community and has the opportunity to live, work, play," said Susan Riehn with Families Helping Families.
Dash for Disabilities is put on by Families Helping Families; a resource center in the Lake Area for people with disabilities.
“We don’t want anybody to think that they’re alone. We want everybody to know that having a disability is not the worst thing in the world," Riehn said.
Races like this wouldn’t be possible without organizations like Ainsley’s Angels.
“Ainsley loved to go out and do runs with her dad," said Kristine Seaward, Ainsley’s aunt. "She had this winning smile on her face, and it brought therapy to her whole family.”
Ainsley was diagnosed at 18 months with a disease called Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy.
Three years ago, she lost her battle, and now her legacy lives on in every racing wheelchair made in her honor.
“Gives them a chance to take their mind off of therapy, or the doctors’ appointments, or the next medication or the treatment," Seaward said.
Ainsley’s Angels started in Lake Charles, Ainsley’s birthplace and has now spread to 60 cities in 30 states.
That means thousands of people with disabilities have been able to roll across the finish line because of her.
“It’s very hard to put into words, and I always say it’s something you have to feel and not see. Just to be able to see their wheelchairs left here while they’re out doing something they normally wouldn’t be able to do, it just gives me goose bumps," said Seaward.
Showing that you truly do race with your heart, not just your legs.