FROM A FAMILY'S PERSPECTIVE
From A Family's Perspective
AHRC Middle High School Student Runs the New York City Marathon
Nicole Appel is a student attending AHRC Middle High School. Nicole will be graduating in June 2012, at the age of 20, but in the meantime, Nicole has had another goal, that of completing the November 6, 2011 New York City Marathon. Nicole has been training for the event for some time, but first took up running after a chance meeting she and her father had while walking on their local running trail. Nicole met Sue and Vince, who work with a Long Island-based non-profit organization called Rolling Thunder, which is dedicated to providing challenged individuals with the opportunity to successfully participate in all levels of mainstream running, walking or wheelchair racing year round.
Since she began running, Nicole's weight has lowered from 218 pounds down to 165 pounds, and she is now in great physical condition. She is engrossed with her participation in the marathon, and in her running clubs. "She's been able to socialize with all sorts of groups. I would love for other parents to avail themselves of these opportunities," adds Nicole's father, Steve Appel. "This is an absolutely wonderful way for her to participate in her community, to be welcomed into new groups, and to disavow any prejudices that may be coming from people who are outside of her experiences."
Nicole and other people who live with developmental disorders that include language barriers have a deep interest in participation and involvement with the community. "Because running requires no verbal skills, it's a great equalizer, and provides an opportunity for a variety of people to participate," says Steve.
In addition to her involvement with Achilles International, which sponsored her run in the marathon, Nicole also runs with a Queens-based group called the Alley Pond Striders, which provides her with the opportunity to socialize with others who share her interests. "My favorite club is the Alley Pond Striders because I love the people," says Nicole.
After joining the group, Nicole asked for the names of all of the Striders, and then she returned home, where she commenced the drawing of portraits for all 60 members of the running group. "It's been absolutely wonderful for my daughter to participate in these programs. There are all kinds of possibilities for parents to help their kids to get involved in running," says Steve.
Nicole crosses the finish line with her father, Steve, and her mother, Rona
Running organizations working with people with developmental disabilities:
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