Unlimited Play - "Where limitations are forgotten, and differences are celebrated".
Unlimited play (www.unlimitedplay.org) is a non-profit organization in the St. Louis area that builds accessible playgrounds for all children and youth to enjoy. This April (2014) I am fortunate enough to be participating in the Boston Marathon. It is my hope that my participation in the Boston Marathon can mean more than just my running 26.2 miles.
Unlimited Play breaks down barriers for children who live with disabilities so that they can enjoy social, physical, and emotional benefits from physical activity along side their peers without disabiltiies.
I first learned about Unlimited Play when I participated in an Olympic Distance Triathlon at Lake St. Louis shortly after moving here in 2013. The founder, Natalie Blakemore, along with some family members pulled and pushed her son Zach so he could experience the thrill of competing in a triathlon. As a mother and health promotion professional, I was (and continue to be) in awe of Natalie. We high fived as we met on the run course and I thought to myself (through the goose bumps and tears), "I would love to be that woman's friend."
Zach lives with a rare disease which effects his central nervous system. I was so inspired by Natalie, her husband Todd, Zach and their two daughters (Brianna and Cassie) that I wanted to support them in some small way. After meeting Natalie in person, and learning more about Unlimited Play's tireless efforts to bring kids with and without disability together through play, I am in awe.
Natalie, a recreation and youth leadership major at BYU, was determined to provide opportunities for her son to play alongside other children. While we often look to professional athletes and celebrities to be our heros - far too often we overlook those in our own communities. I am humbled to run the Boston Marathon this year in honor of Unlimited Play!
It is my hope that we all find inspiration to serve and promote physical activity in our communities - just as Natalie and Unlimited Play are doing. Let's follow their lead and look out for all children - not just our own.
Please join me in supporting Unlimited Play in their pursuit of allowing all youth to play alongside one another.
You can learn more about the Blakemore's and Unlimited Play by visiting:
Click HERE to watch the Blakemore's visit on the Today Show.
Follow Unlimited Play on twitter: @upplaygrounds
Follow Amanda Stanec on twitter: @movelivelearn