GOOD VIBES - Teen Runner Pushes Brother’s Wheelchair During Races

Close Up Of A Wheelchair - Urban Mobility In A Disability Status Concept

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Every weekday Shawn Patrick sheds some light on some good news with His Good Vibes Story. Here is today's...

Chippewa Falls High School freshman Susan Bergeman was looking for a way to get her older brother, Jeffrey, involved in an activity at their school. Jeffrey suffers from cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair, but the Bergeman family have a tradition of running that has always included Jeffrey, so Susan decided to join their school’s cross country team with her brother.

There was a concern that Susan wouldn’t be able to handle the difficulty of pushing her brother’s heavy wheelchair on the often demanding terrain, but Susan enjoys the challenge. "I'm a very competitive person,” she says. “So I almost feel like I have a point to prove." And the team has accepted Susan and her brother with open arms

For now, Susan and Jeffrey are running with their team at meets, but they aren’t allowed to actually compete. The high school sports regulatory body in Winsonsin says their race times aren't official and can't be counted. “We are currently exhibition, we are not competing at all,” says Susan. “There are a lot of rules that are on us like we aren’t supposed to pass people and we are supposed to go slow and let everyone finish first and our results don’t matter.” Susan’s coach and parents have petitioned for a change on that ruling and hope that will come in the future, but Susan and Jeffrey will keep racing either way. “We are having fun,” says Susan. “And we hope to get to a competitive level and just evolve this sport and make it so that it is more inclusive.”

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