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Jordan High Student Athletes Help Two Children With Cerebral Palsy Enjoy Fun Run

Jordan High Student Athletes Help Two Children With Cerebral Palsy Enjoy Fun Run
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SANDY, Utah — As thousands of Utahns head to their local high schools for Friday night lights, it’s Jordan High School athletes who shine a little brighter in the eyes of two Park Lane Elementary students.

Last Friday, two members of the Jordan High School soccer team came to Park Lane Elementary to push 9-year-old Lucas Myrick’s wheelchair at the PTA’s annual Fun Run.

“They ran pretty fast,” Lucas said.

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The Beat Digger’s Cross-Country team also joined in to show their support for 8-year-old Elsa Dent, who was eager to join the fun run with her walker.

“I ran super fast,” said Elsa

Lucas and Elsa have cerebral palsy and other health problems that limit their physical activity. But every child continues to defy the odds.

“We didn’t know if he was going to walk, he was going to talk,” said Janell Myrick, Lucas’ mother.

“They didn’t give us much hope,” Emily Dent, Elsa’s mother, said. “It was amazing to watch her grow and change into this amazing, determined, stubborn young lady.”

The PTA Fun Run hasn’t always been such a positive experience for Lucas, who often comes in last.

“He can’t be as fast as his peers, he will never be as fast as his peers,” Myrick said.

And when his mother told this to a colleague from Canyons School District, the colleague quickly sprang into action and called the Jordan High athletic director.

“We were just super excited to help. Park Lane is part of our community,” said Joel Sundquist, sports director at Jordan High School.

Sundquist reached out to the Beat Digger’s football coach, who asked two players to team up with Lucas at the Fun Run and push him the 1.07 mile. But those players did more than just push Lucas, they became his friends.

“The team is now the Wheelies!” said Luke. “I got the idea from the wheelchair.”

The players pushed Lucas in record time and by the end of the course he got out of his wheelchair and wanted to try a run with his new friends.

“I hit one of them on the leg,” Lucas said. “I ran ahead of him, he couldn’t even keep up!”

“They were able to include someone who is always the last,” Myrick said. “He was like everyone else at that time.”

Shortly after Lucas crossed the finish line, Elsa followed. She walked the entire race with her walker.

“We came around the corner and I was cheering for her and everyone behind me started cheering for her,” Dent said.

“And the police, who cheered,” Elsa added.

“It just felt amazing to see all these kids cheering for her and making her feel like a superstar because she is,” Dent said.

For Lucas and Elsa, the Fun Run has now become one of their favorite school activities, and the two can’t wait to get back together next year.

“I like the fun run,” Elsa said.

“It was really great, especially in the beginning and she was behind everyone and she didn’t even care, she was just excited to do it herself,” Dent said.

Sundquist said the Jordan High School student athletes who participated in the fun run embody everything the Beat Diggers try to do in the community: build, improve and create inclusion. He hopes all Park Lane Elementary students know they are part of the Beat Digger family.

“We try to embody the best parts of our community,” Sundquist said. “I personally really believe in the idea that the candle loses nothing by lighting another candle, and as many candles as we can light, like Lucas’s and Elsa’s, is a perfect example of that.”

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