Seven-year-old Benjamin Cox is almost certain to cross the finish line of the Nationwide Insurance Columbus Marathon one small step ahead of his father, Matt Cox (the Cox family is from Cleveland, OH 44114). That’s because Matt will be pushing Benjamin, who is disabled and will be seated in a special “adaptive jogger” for the entire 26-plus miles.
In addition to Matt and Benjamin, “Team Benjamin” includes mom, Diane, sister, Emily and 18 additional friends and family members who are running either the full marathon or half-marathon to raise money and awareness for both Nationwide Children’s Hospital and United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland (UCP).
“We are excited about participating in the Columbus Marathon because it provides a great platform to raise awareness and funds for two great organizations that are changing the lives of hundreds of disabled children and their families,” says Matt. “The money we raise from running in the marathon will help Nationwide Children’s and UCP continue to provide physical and occupational therapy, medical support and other programs to children with cerebral palsy or other physical and mental disabilities.”
Team Benjamin’s fundraising goal for the Columbus Marathon is $50,000. Whatever total is raised will be split between the two organizations.
”We are honored and inspired by this effort, and we challenge the community to support Team Benjamin – or to create their own team in honor of a loved one,” said Alyson Doyle, assistant director of Annual Giving at Nationwide Children's Hospital Foundation.
During the last three years, Team Benjamin has raised more than $100,000 for United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland through participation in the Cleveland Triathlon. Last year, at age six, Benjamin walked across the finish line with the support of his mom and dad. This year Benjamin couldn’t walk because he had recently undergone major hip surgery that left him in a half-body cast for six weeks, but Benjamin was comfortable enough to sit in the jogger for the running portion of the race. Now with his cast off and in therapy to soon walk again, Benjamin will be ready to accompany his dad on the 26-plus mile trek through the streets and neighborhoods of Columbus on October 16.
“The people at UCP have made a tremendous difference in our lives by greatly improving Ben's physical abilities and quality of life. Every day, Ben does things that we once thought would be impossible – simple things such as walking, holding a cup or even pointing. Ben’s progress has allowed our family to live more empowered, independent lives,” says Matt. “Because we know our story is one that is shared by many families of disabled children all across Ohio who are served by terrific organizations like UCP and Nationwide Children’s, and because we have so many good friends in Columbus who have been so supportive over the years, we decided to expand our awareness-building and fundraising efforts beyond the Cleveland community.”
Anyone wanting to join Team Benjamin at the Columbus Marathon on October 16, 2011 is encouraged to contact Matt via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information about Team Benjamin, including information about how to support the effort with a donation, is available at www.TeamBenjamin.org/columbus-marathon/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Team-Benjamin/58292777158.