A Mother-Daughter Running Team Defies The Limits Of Physical Disabilities
"When I run, I feel like my disability disappears."
That's how Arianna Tanghe explains the incredible impact that participating in long-distance races with her mom, Kelli, has on her life. Arianna, who goes by Ari, lives with cerebral palsy. Ari is blind and uses a wheelchair in her daily activities, but that hasn't kept her off the race courses. Inspired by her two older siblings who are both able-bodied athletes, Ari knew early on that she wanted to get involved in some kind of sport, somehow. Fortunately, Kelli was there to help.
"Ari never stopped asking if she could run with me," Kelli recalls. And while Kelli was always in good shape, she was uncertain at first whether she would be able to push both herself and Ari throughout a long-distance run.
"I wasn't sure if I had the strength and the stamina to be able to push her," says Ari's mom. But that hesitation faded soon after the duo's first 5K race finish. Kelli remembers that Ari "was so excited and so happy that her joy far outweighed any discomfort that I had. I knew at that point that we could do it." And they were off to the races; by Ari's 13th birthday, the power mother-daughter duo completed 13 half marathons!
Kelli believes that Team Ari, as they are known during races, is the first mother-daughter duo to compete at their level. Team Ari's accomplishments are not only incredibly impressive, but they're also wonderful for the family. Ari's dad Michael summed up the feeling of watching Team Ari compete: "A lot of happiness, a lot of pride, and a lot of fun."
If you're interested in more inspiring stories for and about mothers, visit the Just For Mom YouTube Channel, part of the HooplaHa Network... and don't forget to smile!