Pattison's Pacers is a group of able-bodied runners who push disabled children in what are called "push chairs."
After reading an article on Dick and Rick Hoyt, I was moved to make a difference. Dick Hoyt is the father of three boys; Rick, his youngest son, has quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. In 1977, Dick, who had never run more than a mile other than during his Air National Guard Boot Camp training stint, honored Rick’s request to run a 5K with him. This 5K run was a hometown fundraiser to raise monies for a child with disabilities to attend college, and Dick pushed Rick in a wheelchair throughout the run. There was only supposed to be one 5K run, but Dick could not stop; upon returning home from the first race, Rick immediately typed into his communication device, “Dad, when I am running, I don't even feel like I am handicapped.” Since then, Dick and Rick have become celebrities, running marathons and ultra marathons, triathlons and the Ironman triathlons. This story and an article in Sports Illustrated (http://sportsillustrated.asia/vault/article/magazine/MAG1184410/1/index.htm) moved me to participate in a similar activity for a child in the Charleston area. With the help of friends and family and people who I don't even know but want to provide disabled children with the opportunity to run, I am trying to raise money to purchase the first push chair (heretofore known as a running chair) for a team I will call “Pattison’s Pacers.” “Pattison’s Pacers” is affiliated with a local non-profit organization called Pattison’s Academy (http://www.pattisonsacademy.org), a 501c3 non-profit which serves children with multiple disabilities in school and community settings in Charleston County. The majority of children served by Pattison’s Academy cannot walk, talk, or feed themselves and require assistance to do the simplest of activities. Most of these kids don’t have a mom or dad that can spend the money or time to purchase a running chair and train, register and run in local 5 and 10K races. For the parents and children running with me, we will provide them an opportunity to experience what Rick did the first time he “ran” a race with his dad – not to feel disabled. My initial step was to identify a child and an organization with which to work. I was led to Pattison’s Academy and Katherine Holladay. Katherine is a sweet nine-year old girl with diagnoses of seizure disorder, blindness, and marked developmental delay. Identifying Pattison’s Academy and Katherine was the easy step; the challenge now becomes raising money to purchase a running chair. While researching, I found Eagle Sports Chairs, a company in Snellville, Georgia, that custom builds running chairs to fit a child’s specific needs. Katherine’s running chair will cost $2900. I hope to purchase this chair by the end of the December 2011, run our first 5K by February 2012, and complete the Cooper River Bridge Run on March 31, 2012. My request is clear and simple: Please contribute to this cause by making a tax-deductible donation to Pattison’s Academy. I humbly thank you for your consideration and generous donation to help Katherine have the chance to say, as Rick Hoyt so aptly phrased it, “When I am running, I don’t even feel like I am handicapped.”