Bird Dog Breakaway provides special needs kids chance to race - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

Bird Dog Breakaway provides special needs kids chance to race


"On your marks! Get set! Go!," echoes from a megaphone into the Waynesboro morning.

And with the last command, 15 children are off to the races.

"I had fun!" exclaims seven year old J.J. James.

But for kids like J.J., this was no ordinary race. This was a chance to feel normal.

J.J. was born with cerebral palsy. At four years old, he was diagnosed with brain cancer, but has been cancer-free for two years.

Leg braces poke out of his tennis shoes, secured to his calves.

But those braces didn't stop him from taking part in the 5th Annual Bird Dog Breakaway in Waynesboro Saturday morning.

"Why was it fun?" asks Fox 54's Jake Wallace. 

"Cause I got to run fast!" J.J. replies.

Nearly 300 runners and walkers hit the Waynesboro pavement for the Saturday race, which benefits the Center for New Beginnings, a non-profit serving children with special needs from five counties.

There was a 5k, a two mile walk, and two children's races, including an adaptive sports race for special needs children.

Grasping his grandparents' hands tight, J.J. set out on the adaptive course- down a 50 yard stretch of road and back.

With each step, and the cheers of hundreds, J.J.'s face beamed.

"It's what we're here for, you know? To build these kids up, as well as their families," says Center for New Beginnings Director Sarah Ashe. "That light we see in those kids is hat we're here for."

Look around Waynesboro City Park Saturday, and smiles like J.J.'s lit up the square.

Ten year old Aaron, who also suffers from cerebral palsy, is unable to move or talk.

But Aaron completed the 5k run with the help of Ashe's husband, Glen.

"He was smiling and laughing the whole way," Glen laughs, short of breath from pushing Aaron's chair the length of the course. "Every time we'd go by somebody, he would be laughing and smiling, and that just kept me going."

Julie Prescott watched her son, who suffers from autism, finish the 5k race alongside his sister.

"He came across the line, and he just looked at us and he had this huge smile on his face," Prescott says, her smile matching the one she describes. "He just knew he had done something."

And for all three of these children, Saturday's Bird Dog Breakaway was a chance just to be a kid and have a good time.

The event raised nearly $10,000 for the Center for New Beginnings.

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