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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Dare2Tri Impact's Lives of Chicago Athletes with Physical Disabilities and Visual Impairments

For 8-year-old Gabrielle Sullivan, cerebral palsy is a fact of life, but it's not enough to stop her from running, jumping, biking and swimming like any other kid.

Article by Shelbie Lynn Bostedt for Chicago RedEye | May 24, 2017                                                    
Thanks to Chicago-based organization Dare2Tri, Sullivan even has the opportunity to go above and beyond a "normal kid" in these areas—she recently competed in her first triathlon with the assistance of her mom and Dare2Tri volunteers.

"Gabrielle has gotten so much more confident, in school, on the playground, in speaking to people, in answering questions about her disability," said her mother, Melissa Sullivan of Roscoe Village. "We're so proud of her."

This mini-documentary outlines the journey of four Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club athletes.
YouTube published by Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club

Dare2Tri is in its seventh year, working with people of all ages with physical disabilities or visual impairments to allow them to participate in community-based activities like 5Ks, marathons and triathlons.

The organization was founded by two experts in adaptive sports, Keri Serota and Dan Tun, and an above-the-knee amputee veteran Melissa Stockwell, who lost her leg in Iraq.

"Unlike wheelchair basketball, where you need nine other people also in wheelchairs, community-based sports are accessible to any person, disabled or not, and can participate with their mother, brother, sister, whoever," Serota said. "So we came together and decided, 'Let's get more people involved in the sport of triathlon.'"

The mission later expanded to include everything from 5Ks to marathons.

Don't worry—you don't need to be a marathon runner to be able to volunteer with Dare2Tri. The opportunities available at Dare2Tri encompass a variety of skillsets.

"Volunteers can do anything from getting lunches ready and staffing information booths to actually running or swimming or biking with our athletes," Serota said.

If you are up for a feat of physical strength, Dare2Tri also sponsors an event, Race to Raise Relay, alongside the Chicago Triathlon that pairs able-bodied athletes with a Dare2Tri athlete to split up the segments of a triathlon into a relay race.

Volunteers that aren't ready to race but are looking for a stable opportunity can sign up on Dare2Tri's website to be emailed opportunities as events become available—there's no hourly commitment required.

This summer, Dare2Tri will host three camps: one for disabled Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans in Hammond, Indiana, one for all-ages to prepare for a paratriathlon in Pleasant Praire, Wisconsin and a kids camp at 63rd Street Beach. 
For more information, visit Dare2Tri's website.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/redeye/culture/ct-redeye-do-good-volunteering-with-dare2tri-20170515-story.htmlCopyright © 2017, RedEye Chicago

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