Monday, September 8, 2014

The Gouteix Family Expresses Extreme Gratitude to the Bert Show and KPF

 
Julia and Pascal Gouteix competed in their first paired triathlon this weekend, and it was such an amazing experience. The journey this has taken Pascal on has been such a pleasure and an honor to witness up close.
As some of you may know, we first became connected to The Kyle Pease Foundation through The Bert Show as part of a Father’s Day surprise for Pascal. In conjunction with Fragile Kids Foundation, they provided him with a raft to pull Julia along on the swim, a bike trailer and extra supportive seating to keep Julia comfortable during the race. Pascal has always been active, and had completed several triathlons prior to Julia’s arrival and this became a great opportunity for them to find something fun to do together.
The equipment provided was the catalyst for Pascal to make this dream a reality, but the connections we've made as a result have been priceless. It's so hard to feel connected when you're a parent of a child with a disability, especially when connection often means being stuck in some dreary support group that can leave you feeling hopeless. I hate to generalize, but this seems especially true for fathers.
Since the show aired, Pascal has received so much support from a technical standpoint from Brent Pease at foundation, but also from an emotional standpoint as well. We've been put in touch with amazing families that are living parallel journeys to ours, and words really can't describe how good it feels to have those connections. As parents of a three-year-old with cerebral palsy, meeting athletes like Kyle, Marin Smith, Justin Knight and Kevin Enners give us so much hope for the future. Their parents and siblings aren’t too shabby either.
It's difficult to say that you won't let your family be defined in any way, shape, or form by the disability of your child, because it truly shakes your world in ways that you can't imagine. But I do believe that you can choose to be defined by your response to it. Our hope is that people can see that having a child with a disability is not a tragedy, it's not a burden. As corny and contrived as it may sound-it's a blessing in so many unexpected ways. We are so lucky to have found this amazing, supportive group of athletic families and we look forward to many, many more races in the near future!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Old Friends Tri to Rekindle at The Richard B. Russell

The Kyle Pease Foundation was in full force at the Richard B. Russell Triathlon in Elberton, GA two weeks ago. This day proved extra special to me as it marked the maiden voyage of fellow KPF Athlete and my dear friend, Curtis Ward, into the thrills of triathlon. 

Curtis and I played adaptive sports together when we were younger and to see him become a full-fledged triathlon junkie gives me a great personal thrill. 

From the ages of 11 to 18, Curtis and I would play wheelchair handball, track and field, and baseball at many camps around the city.  We lost touch for a while until last year when I saw him working at a local movie theater. He has been involved with the foundation now for about a year but this was his first attempt at completing a tri. 

With the help of five other KPF members, Curtis made it through the course in a very impressive time of 4:27:32. You can always recognize Curtis by the Kangol hat and the coffee in his right hand. Throughout the day he was also recognizable by the huge smile on his face. 

It was great to get the cobwebs off the boat and bike as we head into a busy fall highlighted by the Marine Corp Marathon in October and Ironman Florida in November. 

We will be doing a local triathlon during the first weekend in September with the Bert Show recipient. This is a very special event and another ground breaking effort for the Kyle Pease Foundation. 

We cannot say enough about the incredible work that Elsha is doing in Utah. She runs at least one race per week and is now raising money for KPF through her birthday wish fundraiser. What an incredible woman!!

We are going to cut this post short as the pictures seem to do a much better job at telling the story of the Richard Russell Tri than I do. Below is a wonderful video created by our dearest friend and KPF board member, John David, with many photos that capture the essence of our amazing race day.


Until next time, keep on wheelin'! 


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Pease Brothers Prepare for Ironman While The Elshanator Takes on the Echo Triathalon

We are thrilled to have launched our mini-chapter out west and to have the ELSHAnator on our team is extremely exciting. So the start of this week's post will be written by me, while Elsha will bring us to the finish line. 

This fall is going to be a very exciting time for Brent and I as we are leading up to another Ironman in November in Panama City Florida. As many may recall, we completed our first Ironman last year in Madison, WI and are eager to improve upon our performance this year in Florida. This is an opportunity to bring a lot of positive attention to the  Foundation in addition to achieving some personal goals. 

On August 9th, we will be competing in the Richard B. Russell Tri
in Elberton, GA. This will be especially exciting for us as there will be three KPF boats in the water at the same time. It's a whole different ball game when you do a triathlon, especially for someone who has never been in the water before. For me personally, getting in the water is one of my favorite disciplines. I help Brent more than ever as he likes to swim crooked so I feel like the captain of the ship. I scream, "Right, right" or "left, left" whenever he comes up for air to keep him from hitting other swimmers or turning the swim even longer than it already seems. 

Justin Knight and Curtis Ward will be joining us and will be helped through the course by a team of volunteers. Justin has completed a triathlon before, but Curtis has not. Curtis and I grew up together playing adaptive sports and now having him as a member of Walking with KPeasey is especially gratifying. 

The race is only an hour trip from Atlanta so if any friends or fans want to help us enjoy the day, please join us and be sure to wear your KPeasey blue.  

In the end of October, Brent and I will be bringing ten KPF teams to compete in the Marine Corp Marathon, aka the People's Marathon. This will be a memorable event as we compete with teams from Team Hoyt Virginia Beach, Team Hoyt New England, Ainsley's Angels, Myteam Triumph and Push America. All of these are assisted athlete organizations with similar goals as we have at KPF. To run with them will be incredible. Brent and I will be making the trek but not competing since the Ironman is the following week and we need to keep our bodies fresh.  

Before I pass the baton to Elsha, I want to remind everyone that we are still searching for campers to attend Camp Wheel Away. We will be reaching out to various disabled agencies around Atlanta to make sure that these spots don't go unclaimed. The weekend camp 
will take place from October 10-12. And as I reach the half way point, I'm going to rehydrate and turn the wheels over to Elsha Stockseth
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I am Ironman...”  Okay so my pusher James English is and I am at least a triathlete. This was a big challenge, but I was really excited to see what I could do. This was also my first time using the W.I.K.E. trailer that The Kyle Pease Foundation helped me get.

My parents and the other kids parents were really nervous, especially for the swimming part. I was more worried about the biking. There were 5 "Push to the Finish" kids including myself. We got to start 30 minutes before the other 500 racers which helped a lot.

First was the 750 meter swim. This actually turned out to be my favorite part because it was so smooth and easy. I just had to lay down in the raft as James pulled me behind. Everyone else worried about us tipping over or getting soaked, but it was just like riding It’s a Small World at Disneyland, very smooth and slow, just without the silly song.

There were about three people on kayaks watching us along with the patrol boat. When we reached the beach again it was very special because the other racers parted and cheered to welcome us.

After making it up the steep hill and dirt trail, we reached our bike trailers. They were already hooked to the bikes, so once James changed and I was buckled in, we were off. The 20k bike ride was really fun because we got to go so fast. My blanket holding my head started falling, so at the halfway point James was able to fix it. We reached the transition area and converted to the jogging version of the W.I.K.E. It was very simple and worked out great.

The 5k was my least favorite part because we had to run on a dirt trail with tons of weeds and small rocks. James did really well with me though because he would try to go around the bumps and divots. This was such a great adventure and I am really happy that I was able to finish without too many difficulties.

James said that it was one of his favorite races too which I love
because I know how much work it was for him while I just got to enjoy the ride. It is a testament to my mantra, “Don’t Stop Believin’!”

Thursday, July 17, 2014

KPeasey Nation: Building the Blueprint for Barrier Demolition

You can focus on things that are barriers or you can focus on scaling the wall and redefining the problem. - Tim Cook

 
What's going on KPeasey Nation? I hope everyone is enjoying the sunshine where ever you might be. At times this spring, I think we all wondered if the summer would ever arrive. Now that it is here, I hope that it stays through at least November.
This past July 4th was another example of breaking down barriers for the Kyle Pease Foundation and Walking with KPeasey.

Brent and I, along with fellow athletes Justin Knight and Brian Resutek, competed in the famous Peachtree Road Race. We continued to show the world that anything is possible and really started to put the blue print together in the effort to create an assisted athlete division of the Peachtree.

 
A special thank you to Shepard Center and to the Atlanta Track Club for their continued support. Once again, they put together an outstanding race and we are honored to have been invited to participate again this year.

More than a thousand miles away in Utah, Elsha Stockseth
continues to be a pioneer and ambassador for what The Kyle Pease Foundation is striving to achieve as we continue to build KPeasey chapters in different parts of the US. Our goal is to spread our mission and give other disabled individuals outside of GA the same opportunity. Where there is a wheel there a way.

Elsha continues to be a partner and to compete in every race that she can. That is very impressive to me.

Camp Wheel a Way is rapidly approaching so if you know anybody that could benefit from this camp please feel free email or visit Kylepeasefoundation.org

The camp is a weekend away for children and individuals with disabilities to empower themselves and enjoy a leisurely couple days away with Camp Twin Lakes and Camp Will-a-way in Winder, GA. They fish, do arts and crafts, rock climb, and many other incredible exciting camp activities. sponsored by kpf in conjunction with camp twin lakes. Details can be found below or on the Kyle Pease Foundation website.

Our next event is the Richard B. Russell Triathlon to be held
on August 9.  This is one of our favorites as we get to see multiple KPF athletes in the water at the same time. We will share the experience with y'all in my next blog post. 


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Happy Peachtree America!!

This Friday, the Fourth of July, not only marks the 238th birthday of our country, but also marks the second consecutive year that Brent and I will be competing in the Peachtree Road Race. Perhaps when measured against the two centuries and nearly four decades that America is celebrating our second attempt at the largest 10K is rather insignificant, but to us and to the many assisted athletes competing around our country it is indeed worthy of celebration. 
 
Just last year, Brent and I were honored to have been allowed by Atlanta Track Club and the Shepherd Center to blaze the trail as the first assisted athletes ever allowed in this very prestigious event. We are equally honored again this year to have been invited back to this wonderful event.
 
What makes this even sweeter is that we get to bring a very special KPF athlete with us. Justin Knight will be participating in his very first Peachtree. He will be joined by his partner, Brian Resutek who will be pushing Justin throughout the 6.2 mile course. We are thrilled to have company and just can’t wait til Friday.
 
Last year's event was the very first time that any assisted athlete was able to participate along with about 60 men and women competing in the wheelchair category. These amazing athletes compete on their own power, while Justin and I are the only two assisted teams.
 
Atlanta's own 11 Alive who featured us following last year's race is
doing a followup and incorporating the Kyle Pease Foundation into the story. The spotlight will be more on the foundation than upon us and we consider this to be a wonderful thing because it spreads awareness about the foundation.  This in turn opens doors for so many opportunities for those who are benefited by KPF.

Later this year, Brent and I will be representing the foundation in our second Ironman to be held in Panama City Beach Florida on November 1st. As you may recall, Brent and I competed and completed out first Ironman Triathlon last September in Madison, WI and finished the event in just over 15 hours. 
 
We are excited to work with Ironman again as we attempt to conquer the 140.6 mile course and again have the honor of wearing the title of IRONMAN. Thanks again to Ironman for allowing us to continue to share the road with so many deserving others.

Our training will begin in early August and will continue to October. We will share details of our training regimen in upcoming blog posts.
 
We want to wish this great country a happy birthday and thank you for the incredible freedom that you bestow upon us. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Patrick and Jessica: What KPF is All About

The athletes of the Kyle Pease Foundation tore up the race course earlier this month at the Virginia Highland 5K which has become one of our favorite races of the season. Taking place right in our own back yard we see hundreds of familiar faces from and around Atlanta. This year we saw nine athletes toe the starting line and enjoyed lots of smiles and good times. It is difficult to pick a highlight out of the hundreds of highlights surrounding this race, but one of the most fulfilling for me and for many of the thousands of cheering fans was watching one of our newest members, Patrick Thom, completed the 3.1 miles under his own power. 

Patrick, age 14, has cerebral palsy and completed the course with his father by his side in an inspiring 56:18:00. This lends credence to the adage, "It's not how fast you go, but how you get there" and Patrick got there to the sounds of ground shaking cheers and deafening applause.  The very epitome of what Walking with KPeasey is all about. Watch the video of the Inspiring Patrick below. 


Our own Sam Harrison finished in 22:59:00 in his first 5K, while Brent and I finished in 22:00. As always, our time is secondary to the smiles we are able to witness on the faces of all the KPF athletes. We are excited to get back out there on July 4th at the Peachtree Road Race on the 4th of July and hope to see everyone out there dressed in red, white and KPeasey Blue!!

As exciting as all of that may sound, it doesn't get any better than this. Every year we award the KPF family grant to an individual who we find to be especially inspiring. Last year was the maiden year of the KPF Grant and the winner was Sean Bates of Texas. This year, we are overjoyed to announce that the winner of the KPF Family grant is (drum roll, please) Jessica Minton of Rome Georgia. We think after you read her essay that you will agree with our selection.

"My name is Jessica Minton.  I am a 31 year old survivor.  I lost my left leg, above the knee, 20 years ago to Osteo Sarcoma, a malignant bone tumor.   I was 11 years old. It was the toughest year of my life.  Why you may ask?  Not only did I have cancer, but my dad died three months into my treatment.  He had an aneurysm.  I had my leg amputated three weeks later.  To me, I had lost something so much more important than a leg.  
About a month later, our house was hit by a tornado.  I picked up the shattered pieces of my life, graduated high school, and went on to attend college at Jacksonville State University.  Three years into my college career, I transferred to The University of Alabama to become the very first recruit for their Women’s Wheelchair Basketball team.  I would also play sitting volleyball for the U.S. National Women’s Sitting Volleyball team, and be named an alternate for the 2004 Paralympics in Greece.   After graduating from Alabama I would go on to coach the prep team for BlazeSports Georgia Basketball.  I found out in January 2006 that I was pregnant with our little boy, Grant.  Because of this, and knowing that I was due in September, I did not return for another season. After Grant was born, he was placed in the NICU, first at our hospital here in Rome and then transferred to Scottish Rite in Atlanta.  He spent six weeks in the NICU.
I had a stroke two and a half months after Grant was born.  One of the chemotherapies I received when I had cancer damaged my heart.  After my stroke, I didn’t know what activities I would be able to do.  Then, last year, I heard about Brent and Kyle Pease.  I saw them on television after the Peachtree Road Race.  I was amazed by these men.  I decided then that I was going to get in touch with The Kyle Pease Foundation (KPF) and see if they could assist me.
I’m borrowing a handcycle from KPF right now. Since I see a cardiologist, I discussed the racing with him.  He told me that I may never be able to do the hills alone, but when I told him about KPF, he became very excited and told me as long as I had someone to help, he didn’t see why I should not be able to continue.  I’ve done four 5K’s since November, and I’ve loved it!!  I’m enjoying being outside.  Sometimes, it’s hard to train, and this southern humidity is murder!
My husband is not a runner because he has Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, but I’ve found many other runners in my church to run with me.  Some days, I do the best I can and go as far as I can by myself.  Eventually, I want to be able to do a half marathon on a regular basis.  At least once in my life, I want to do a full marathon.  I know I’ll have to train for a while to be able to do this. 
KPF has helped me so much.  For one, they inspire me. To see all of these athletes, who just want to be active achieve that dream, motivates me to train harder and push myself even more.  I stay positive by not focusing on the hardships that my disabilities bring with them.  I just do the best that I can and stubbornly push through the obstacles.  I also stay positive and motivated because of my best friend/husband Bryant who has always pushed me to do whatever it is that I set my mind to doing.  He was one of the more vocal supporters of me transferring to Alabama to pursue my aspirations of playing wheelchair basketball.  He has also helped me stay positive and motivated because he’s loved me despite my amputation, the stroke, Grant being in the NICU, being diagnosed with autism, and his special needs.  He’s stood constant and on watch for his family.
Due to my disabilities, I’m unable to work and I do not receive SSDI.  We are a one income household.  By my son having special needs, so many appointments in Atlanta, it is impossible for me to work.  By receiving a KPF family grant, it would assist me in acquiring a handcycle so that I can continue training, staying physically active, and enjoying time with my family.  My only request is that it is a handcyle with a removable front wheel system. It is very difficult for me to load the device into my accessible van alone, which is sometimes necessary.
I know that everyone applying for this grant all have different needs, abilities, and disabilities.  Why should you give it to me?  I honestly cannot say that my need is any greater than anyone else’s. I just hope that, by me racing, whether with KPF or not, that other people will see that all people are just that, people.  No matter the disability, no matter the number of people helping push them along, that we all have the desire to finish the race.  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

KPF Grows as Elsha Defies the Odds

One of the long-term goals of the Kyle Pease Foundation is to assist those around the country and not just in the Atlanta area. Our primary goal is to assist those in our own backyard but as we establish our roots here in Georgia we are looking for opportunities to expand.
We recently have connected with Elsha Stockseth from Utah who is our first long distance KPF sponsored athlete. We are excited to share her post from her two recent races, the Ogden Half Marathon and the Defy the Odds-5K. So thrilled to have her on board and excited to share in her success.
When not running the courses through Utah, Elsha, who has muscular dystrophy and weighs only 40 pounds, is a skilled artist who uses her head to create her amazing work. See this video link to witness this amazing young lady.

Ogden Half Marathon - May 17, 2014

This was my first time running this race. I was being pushed by my friend, Mandi McBride, and her sister, Angie Nye Rasmussen. This was our second half marathon together. It was a pretty early race and a little chilly. Right when the race started, Angie said that if I wanted, Mandi and I could go faster and she would just run behind. We took off and had a great run.
 
This was such a beautiful course through Ogden Canyon with the running river, the beautiful waterfall, and the delicious smell of campfires. So many wonderful people raced next to us, but my favorite was Team Bart another guy being pushed in his special cart by his father. Although it was just a few seconds that we were next to each other it was really fun to hear Bart be so excited about racing. Even more inspiring was when my mom told me how Bart was able to get out of his wheelchair to use a walker for his last few steps across the finish line.
 
Mandi and I crossed the finish in 1:33 which was quite amazing since she had to struggle for the entire 13.1 miles with my B.O.B stroller thing that only wanted to go left. We were able to easily fix the problem right after the race thanks to Google and Mandi’s brother-in-law. It was a fun time to race together and especially to see so many people that we knew at the race. Another fun surprise was having my best friend from childhood and her family come to see my. We can’t wait to do that race together again.

Anything for a Friend -Defy the Odds 5k -May 31, 2014

This was a 5k/fun run to raise money for a boy injured in a trampoline accident last December. I was really excited for this because I was meeting a new pusher friend who I met on Facebook. His name is Joshua Snow Hansén and he is an amazing guy.
 
He has lost 180 lbs. and is trying to run 180 races. We decided that this was the perfect race for us as we are both “defying the odds” in our lives. The race was a late start race and was just about to start when Joshua came. It was so hot and almost all on a trail so kind of crowded. We still had a great time together especially since we were listening to our favorite band, U2. It was especially fun to have my brother and his little girls to cheer us on.