Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

DASCH to the finish line

Roomies with disabilities part of marathon

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Stan uses a wheelchair, Garry has Down syndrome, and Brenda can't hear or see.

But today they'll just be three of the thousands of participants in the annual Manitoba Marathon.

The three roommates are part of a relay team put together by their aides at Direct Action in Support of Community Homes, or DASCH for short.

DASCH is a non-profit organization that helps people with disabilities live in 42 homes and eight apartments throughout Winnipeg.

"Yes," said Stan, using a touch communication board on a tray on his wheelchair when asked if he was looking forward to taking part in his leg of the relay race.

Stan, 46, also said that not only was he glad to participate in this year's relay, with help from his aide, but he was already planning on taking part in next year's event.

Same with Garry, who sports a huge grin when asked if it was his first marathon.

"It's my first race," Garry, 57, said.

"I'm looking forward to it."

But there's one thing Garry will do next year he didn't do this year with the three only signing up a short while ago.

"Practice and train," he said, again cracking a wide smile.

Through sign language, Brenda, 35, said she is happy to be part of the relay.

Michelle McCreight, Brenda's aide, said the woman will be able to run and walk by pushing on her elbow.

"I anticipate she will be pushing -- she likes going fast. She spends a lot of time on the treadmill in their house.

"She is very excited."

Karen Fonseth, DASCH's executive director, said it's wonderful the three can be part of a relay team, because DASCH itself has been a past recipient of grant money from the marathon.

"We're just so proud of this group," Fonseth said.

Susanne Williams, a director of the DASCH Foundation, said the organization has already been told it will be one of the marathon's 26 km. for 26 charities next year.

"This is just so perfect seeing these three," she said.

"It just makes sense."

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca


Marathon facts

13,000 runners are expected to participate

Full marathon starts at 7 a.m. Relay starts at 7:10 a.m., and Wave 1 and Wave 2 of the half marathon start at 7 and 7:10 a.m.

All runners are expected to be off the course by 1 p.m.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 17, 2012 A5

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