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Dominic Runs: Disabled 4-yr-old yearns to run
CINCINNATI (Brad Johansen) -- On Saturday, the Kicks for Kids Foundation founded by former Bengals player Doug Pelfrey holds its 17th annual 5K River Run.
Before that race starts, they will run a special one, a 40-yard dash for kids who want to run but can't. Brad Johansen has the story of 4-year-old Dominic who dreams of not being special.
It's something Dominic was born with, actually something each of us are born with, the need to feel special. As Dominic has grown, he's yearned to feel something else. He was born two and a half months premature, with Cerebral Palsy and a cortical eye impairment. He spent his first six months of life in ICU. Dominic makes noises and hand signals, a painstaking process to make people understand what he wants.
His mom, Laura, works at home for a marketing company in Denver. She used to travel but not anymore. Dominic needs 24-hour care and most of it is on dad. Gary stays home full-time with Dominic. The options have increased in the last three years for Dominic who spends three days at preschool, two days a week at the Children's Hospital Pearlman Center with therapists.
One of his therapists, Melissa Tally, said, "Every little and big accomplishment is like watching my own kid get an A on a test or get picked for the team."
Melissa told Laura and Gary that Dominic should race. The "Special K" is a 40-yard race to kick off the 5K. Not really a race, more of an exercise in being non-special.
The first year Dominic didn't make it more than a few feet. The last year produced progress. Gary tells Local 12's Brad Johansen it was amazing to see Dominic have freedom and the pride to go where he wanted to go with some independence.
For Dominic's dad, who has so many days when special feels just plain frustrating, "It was one of the best moments, to see him be able to be typical."
Typical, that's what Dominic's after. Even if for a moment, just to feel like a typical kid.
He didn't finish the race last year but he got a medal. This year maybe he'll make it all 40 yards.
Race-day registration is available for the 5K River Run. CLICK HERE for more details.
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