Sara and I first became aware of Infantile Neuroaxonal Dystrophy(INAD) through our son Joe. He was stationed with the Father of a child who has INAD and had come to know and love his little girl, Ainsley. When we first met Ainsley and her family it was truly love at first sight. You see, Ainsley’s Dad, Rooster, is her arms and legs while pushing her in a custom made jogging chair. Together “Captain Ainsley” and her many “Angels” have run numerous events from 5K’s up to and including an ultra-marathons for a total of nearly 100 races over the past five years. During the next year (2015) Ainsley and her team of “Angels” will compete in 11 races culminating with the 2015 USMC 40th Anniversary Marathon/10K in Washington, D.C.
Joe along with Rooster and others have been running in order to bring attention and awareness to the special needs community with the goal of promoting “INCLUSION” in all aspects of life. After being a spectator at many of Ainsley’s runs Bill decided to attempt being a participant so that he could, in a small way, demonstrate his support for this remarkable little girl and her equally remarkable family as well as the community of all special needs children. In 2013 he registered for his first 5K and was surprised that he was able to finish the race. That short race gave Bill the confidence and motivation to take on the challenge of longer distances culminating in the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon 10K. Surprisingly, at the ‘mature’ age of 68 finishing this race. Bill gradually began to believe that if these precious children and their “Angels” could overcome obstacles then he could as well. In September 2014 Sara and I surprised the family by registering anonymously (wanted to surprise the family) for the Northern Virginia Chapter’s “Roll with the Wind” race in Purcellville, Virginia. This was Sara’s first 5K and with her not being an athlete she was determined to finish and with Leanne cheering her on at the finish line and Bill by her side, she FINISHED.
October was Bill’s second and by far most rewarding Marine Corps Marathon 10k. It certainly will not be his last. Motivated by Ainsley and with the loving support of Sara, Joe, and Leanne, Bill’s goal is to participate in 15 races in 2015. Sara will be showing her support by participating in 5K’s during the next year and when not participating, find her at the finish line as the family cheerleader.
It is and honor privilege to know and love Ainsley and her extraordinary family.