Chucky Maugh wasn’t tired at all after completing the Tri-Cities Marathon in less than 4 hours. He just smiled widely as he showed off the medal he received.
Maugh, 25, isn’t able to speak as a result of severe cerebral palsy, and he uses a wheelchair. Twenty-five volunteers pushed the specially made jogging stroller during the marathon. Maugh’s participation was organized by The Arc of Tri-Cities, which provides services to people with developmental disabilities.
The idea for Maugh to race came from Megan Fort, Arc’s program manager. She was training for the marathon herself, and began having second thoughts after about seven miles of a training run. But then she thought of the joy Maugh would get upon crossing the finishing line, especially with everyone cheering.
“It suddenly just dawned on me that Chucky’s never experienced anything like that, and never would unless someone would help him out” she said. “I wanted to share it with him. The response has just been overwhelming.”
Fort ended up canceling her own plans to run the marathon so she could help Maugh. The Arc convinced people — from high school students to parents to police officers — to each run a mile.
“Chucky enriched all of us,” said Kennewick Police Chief Ken Hohenberg, who ran the first mile with Maugh. “I think he enriched the whole event.” Hohenberg was at the chilly, overcast start / finish line at the Richland Shiloh Inn at 7 a.m. He learned that Maugh didn’t want to go at a leisurely pace.
“I found out real quick that Chucky likes speed,” he said. “He kind of encouraged us to move along when we weren’t going fast enough.”
Kennewick Police Detective John Davis, who ran the 13th mile with Maugh, has a special needs child of his own, which made him appreciate Maugh’s experience. “He would look up and clap when he’d get real excited,” Davis said of Maugh.
Fort also received donations of $2,000, enough money to buy two jogging wheelchairs. They hope to get more chairs to allow more people with disabilities to take part in future races. “We hope to make these a fixture at local races,” she said.
The marathon would welcome more disabled participants, race director Miguel Reyna said. He helped Fort organize the mile markers where each of Maugh’s helpers would stand waiting for him. “She had my full support in working out the logistics,” he said.
Maugh received a special “superstar marathoner” award at the ceremony at the conclusion of the event, which had 550 participants, about half of whom ran the full race. The rest were part of relay teams.
Maugh’s caretaker, Phronsie Carr, who has been with him since he was 7, made sure he was warm with two blankets and gloves for the trip that crossed the Columbia River four times on three different bridges. She credits The Arc with keeping Maugh active through the years. “Staying at home is not good,” she said.
C.J. Gose of Kennewick was the eighth person to run with Maugh, taking him from Road 52 to Road 34 in west Pasco. He said people along the route as well as other runners were encouraging.
“For Chuck, he likes to be a part of the crowd,” Gose said. “Being with the community really made him feel a sense of normalcy.”
The most common cause of cerebral palsy is prematurity, whereby the baby is delivered before certain organs, such as the brain and lungs, are fully developed. However, a baby born at term also can develop cerebral palsy if there is a significant reduction of oxygen or blood to the brain, called hypoxia (decreased oxygen to the tissues and organs) or ischemia (reduced blood flow). Infection, brain toxins, and brain bleeds also can cause the condition. A brain injury causing cerebral palsy can occur during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or after birth up to approximately three years of age.
There are many different types of surgeries, treatments and therapies that can help the symptoms of cerebral palsy. Playing sports, camping, animal therapy and riding horses and bicycles, along with many other complementary therapies, have been shown to be extremely beneficial for children and adults with special needs. Indeed, social interaction and a sense of community are very important for those with special needs, and when they can share laughter and fun moments, the benefits are immeasurable.
HELP FOR FAMILIES AFFECTED BY CEREBRAL PALSY
There are many complications that can cause cerebral palsy, such as infection, kernicterus, oxygen deprivation, brain bleeds and trauma caused by forceps and vacuum extractors. It is crucial for the physician to monitor the mother and baby very closely around the time of delivery and treat conditions that can lead to cerebral palsy. Failure to properly monitor and treat the mother and baby is negligence. Failure to follow standards of care and guidelines – and to act skillfully and quickly – also constitute negligence. If this negligence leads to cerebral palsy, it is medical malpractice.
The award winning attorneys at Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers have been helping families in Michigan, Ohio, Washington, D.C. and nationwide affected by cerebral palsy for over two decades. Our attorneys are recognized as national experts in the field of birth injury law and have a track record of multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, call or email Reiter & Walsh today for a free consultation. 888-419-2229