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Can Do race to raise awareness, support for people with special needs

  • Written by Deborah Stone
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Amy Young congratulates her son, Sam. Courtesy photo.
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Members of the 2011 Team Wranglers “Can Do” Team include: Front (l-r): Julie Aadland-Lewis, Joel Aadland-Lewis, Courtney Aadland-Lewis, Brent Perley, Emily Sanders, Kelly Zabell, Judy Gratton; Back (l-r): Richard Aadland-Lewis, Cindy Creager, Ryan Creager, Ken Creager, Steve Sanders, Will Sanders, Randy Robbins, Betsy Sanders, Kyle Zabell, Cole Caplan. Courtesy photo.
Mark your calendars for the upcoming Can Do 5K/10K and 1 Mile Walk on March 31st to help raise awareness and money to support people with special needs.

Organized by Northwest Special Families and the Center for Human Services, and in partnership with the Northshore YMCA, the race celebrates the challenges kids with disabilities face, and overcome.

This is the fourth year for the event and according to Amy Young of Northwest Special Families, funds raised will go toward supporting inclusive and specialized camps and activities for children with special needs and the YMCA Partners With Youth Campaign, as well as ongoing education and workshops for family support.

“It’s a great event,” she says. “And it draws lots of people. Last year, we had 1,300 people registered and there were 20 vendors and community sponsors who participated in the post-race vendor fair.”

One of the groups involved in the race again this year is the Northshore Wranglers, a non-profit Special Recreation and Services Program offering weekly year-round activities for people of all ages with intellectual, cognitive and developmental disabilities, their families and caregivers.

“Team Wranglers” will run, walk and roll to help show that people of all abilities “Can Do.”

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Bianca Gieb and Marci Drews at the conclusion of the 2011 Can Do Run. Courtesy photo.
Cole Caplan, coordinator for the Wranglers, notes that Wranglers have been participating in the event since its beginning.

He says, “In 2011, we had well over 20 members take part. We expect at least twice that many this year.” He adds, “The Wranglers participants understand that this is an event that supports and celebrates them. It’s a fun event with a lot of enthusiasm, good spirit, encouragement and support. In that environment, I believe we all can feel special. And, that’s a special thing.” Caplan explains that the race is an important event for the Wranglers. He notes that Team Wranglers is about community giving, as well as advocacy for people with special needs.

He says, “A key idea to the Can Do 5K/10K is that anyone, regardless of abilities ‘can do.’ Team Wranglers champions that same message year round through events and efforts that support and advocate for people with special needs and other disadvantaged populations.”

The event benefits the organization both directly and indirectly, according to Caplan. It increases awareness among the public that people with special needs can make a valuable contribution, which is a key part of the Team Wranglers’ campaign.

Also, the money raised by the team and through events such as this race, directly benefits people with special needs. Caplan adds, “The Wranglers have been fortunate to obtain a great deal of community support and Team Wranglers is a way we give back and give thanks for that support.”

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