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.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

KPF Announces Some Really Exciting Stuff

We are entering our most exciting and perhaps my favorite time of the Kyle Pease Foundation year as we are about to announce two incredible opportunities for those who are associated with KPF. 

In the words of some really smart person, "Tis better to give than to receive" and we are excited to give the 2nd Annual Pease Family Grant. Last year we loved the feeling of awarding the Bates Family of Fort Worth TX our first such award in which we presented Sean and Steve with an adaptive bike to use in enhancing their race experience together. This year we hope to duplicate the experience by presenting a lucky recipient or their family a piece of adaptive race equipment (bike, chair or boat) to offset the costs of improving their opportunity to "wheel". 

The Kyle Pease Foundation strives to be more than simply a team of racers but more so a resource to help others enjoy the experience. Whenever we are able to assist in defraying the costs associated with adaptive racing we try to do so. The Annual Pease Grant is one such way we make racing possible for those families who need a helping hand. In order to be considered for this year's grant please email us at walkingwithkpeasey@gmail.com and tell us why you would like to be considered. 

The second opportunity we want to encourage racers to take advantage of is to join us at the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington DC during the weekend of October 23-26. Nothing is more exilerating than running 26.2 with Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, the Pentagon, the White House and other historical landmarks in the rear view mirror. We currently have six of our ten race bibs still available for the People's Marathon where we join forces with "Push America" to make a powerful statement. Last year we joined Push America, Team Hoyt, Ainsley's Angels and myTeam Triumph in a powerful show of inclusion at the beginning of this very prestigious race. This year we hope to increase this show by sending ten teams to the Nation's capital. KPF will again offset costs of race entry, hotel, food and travel for those teams who raise the funds necessary to compete. Again email us at walkingwithkpeasey@gmail.com to secure your bib. 

Our next official race is only a month away at the Virginia Highlands Summerfest 5K on June 7th. This is an exciting race and we would love to show up in full force. Whether a first time KPF-er or a grizzled veteran, we would love for you to become involved. The 5K Race starts at 8 AM near  the intersection of Virginia Ave and N Highland Ave,  runs through scenic neighborhoods and ends near John Howell Park. It is truly one of our favorite 5K's of the year. 

That is of course followed up a month later by the Peachtree Road Race on the Fourth of July. We have some very exciting news regarding this race, so stay tuned for our upcoming posts. 



Thursday, April 10, 2014

LIVE and UNCUT....TALKING WITH KPEASEY

You've undoubtedly heard of Walking with Peasey. Well in the interest of spicing up this week's blog post, we decided to give you our bi-weekly update straight from the horse's mouth. So with no further adieu, Kyle will play the role of the horse in our first edition of Talking with KPeasey! 


Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Kyle Pease Foundation Goes Publix

After a season on the sidelines, waiting for Opening Day, Kyle, Brent and the rest of the athletes of the Kyle Pease Foundation, were ready to lace 'em up, polish the chrome and wait for the starting gun to fire last weekend at the Publix Georgia 1/2 marathon and 5K. Below are the thoughts of Kyle and Brent and the images of this monumental day in KPF history...Together We Wheel..

Brent: 
Lining up in our usual corral for the Publix Half Marathon, I was in awe of the sight.  There was a full crew this year.  It wasn't just me & Kyle but rather 16 athletes ready to run like the wind! I couldn't help but get overly excited.


I began to jump and hop...excited for the gun to go off.  As the National Anthem played my heart swelled with pride.  In 2011 it was just us...just brothers. Now we were all brothers. 

As we took off onto the streets of Atlanta our bike escorts were amazed at the scene coming through downtown. The reactions were amazing. The smiles infectious. The volunteers were amazing.  We tip our hats to you.  We THANK YOU. The bike  escorts, the race organizers, the on course volunteers. THANK YOU...you make this day what it is.




To all those who support us.  Thank you for allowing us to do what we love. MOST importantly...to the athletes who we ran with.  You inspire us. You are amazing. Today you are now one of the best, strongest, toughest athletes we know. Together We Wheel!!

Kyle: 
The weekend got off to a wonderful start on Thursday at the local Gordon Biersch Eatery where we hosted a Happy Hour which got the weekend off to a very positive beginning. There we ate, laughed, displayed our new racing equipment and maybe even enjoyed a sip or two.   

From there it was only a few quick days until race day where all of the KPeasey athlete started to get excited to kick off the season. The day began at 4 AM when we met after packing up all the equipment. The goal for the day was to make sure everyone was safe, comfortable and had a positive race experience throughout the day. Down to the each and every participant, I can confidently say we succeeded at achieving that goal. 


We were pleased to have one of Ainsley's Angels come and run 
with us from their Central Alabama Chapter. This was exciting as we believe that this is one sport where there is no competition  between foundations. Whether it is KPF or Ainsley's Angels, Team Hoyt or myTeam Triumph, we all have a common goal; to include others in the race day experience and to promote inclusion. It is not about the name on the front of the shirt, but about the people who are wearing them. 

It was a great time had by all as everyone was smiling and having a great time. Everyone was in a great mood and ready to race. It was great to see the foundation get off to such a great start and we will keep the momentum going.

There was lots of great media coverage and we love the fact that the focus was on the foundation and how things got started. CBS featured Greg and Marin Smith and showed other people that there is more to KPF then just Kyle and Brent. The Atlanta Journal Constitution also did a feature on Brent and me and the entire foundation. 

We had ten athletes participate in the 1/2 and six in the Luckie 5K. We can't thank the people at Publix enough for putting on such a tremendous event. 

We don't have another race on the calendar until June,  but if any athletes want to participate before then the foundation will certainly support them. In the meantime, our goals are to continue to promote the foundation and open our doors to more and more athletes.