Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


A few months ago I heard about non-profit organization called "I Run 4". Inspired by a close friend who was battling hip dysplasia, Tim Boyle founded the organization to give both runners and honorary runners a way to give one another both mental and emotional encouragement.

Last week I put all four of my kids' names onto the list of Buddies who would like to be matched with a runner, and by the next day they had been matched. The timing couldn't have been more perfect, since Axel's runner, Debbie, was scheduled to run the Big Sur half marathon on Sunday, November 17th.

Axel was excited to learn about this person who was going to run a really big race, so the day before he made her a poster. 

Debbie was so excited to have someone to run for. Another someone to focus on when she's running. I told Debbie Axel's story, how he came to us from the other side of the world, about his spinal fusion and the fact he had never been given the opportunity to run. Now that he is able to, he LOVES to run, though his technique is a bit interesting. LOL

Debbie wore Axel's favorite color orange for her race, and she and took this picture for him just before the race. 

Debbie ended up setting a personal record for the half marathon! She got a medallion at the end of the race. Do you see it hanging around her neck? She worked hard to earn that! Axel was very proud of her when I explained she had to run a very long way to get it. 

Axel loved seeing the pictures of Debbie before and after her race! Then today a package arrived in the mail for Axel. 

*edited to add* Tonight I went into the boys' room to make sure everyone was all tucked in and found this:
Axel brought Debbie's medallion to bed with him.

Since it's beginning IR4 has grown exponentially. There are now somewhere around 2000 runners around the world waiting to be matched with a buddy. I know a lot of my readers have kids or family members with a wide variety of special needs. If your special person would like to be matched with a runner, please visit the IR4 website for more information! I found it very easy to sign my kids up, and my kids are really excited to be able to cheer their runners on! 


Stephanie said...

I've been thinking about doing it for Owen. Glad to hear your experience has been really positive. I LOVE Axel's sign and big smile. He's awesome, Leah.

DandG said...

What a great moment! I can't wait to be matched (I am one of those runners....) So PLEASE sign up more buddies!!!!

Debbie Clayton said...

Leah you have no idea how much this video and photo mean to me! I am so honored to run for Axel, so happy to have found this group, and feel so incredibly blessed to be getting to know you and your wonderful family. I am so thankful to be a part of this amazing I Run 4 organization. Thank you so much for this!!!

Tim Boyle said...

I love it!