I want to share a special organization and product with as many families as I can. Recently, I was able to participate in the TriRock Triathlon in Lake Geneva with my son for the second year in a row. This year, he was able to walk the red carpet to cross the finish line because of a product called the “Upsee.”
The mission of myTeam Triumph is to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities. MyTeam Triumph is a non-profit organization created for individuals and veterans with disabilities who would normally not be able to experience endurance events such as triathlons, duathlons or road races.
I joined the organization to get out and meet other families with disabilities. Hearing people cheering for Michael during our first race had the biggest impact on me. In public, people often don’t know how to interact with him because of his disabilities. He was the center of attention for the whole day, which he and I both loved. It didn’t stop there. When Michael joined his friends at daycare, the staff told the other children what he had done and showed them his medal. So they decided to play “triathlon” with Michael and cheered him on while being pushed around in his wheelchair. Michael’s favorite phrase is “Gooo Michael!” Our goal is that each year we compete in a triathlon; Michael will be able to participate on his own, a little more, without assistance.
Last year we helped him take a few steps across the finish line by holding him and moving his feet. This year, he walked the whole red carpet to the finish line with assistance from his Upsee, a new product that allows Michael to take steps while connected to me.
The Upsee was invented by a mother who had a son with disabilities. It is made up of a harness that the child wears, that connects to a belt around the adult. Special sandals connect the adult and child’s feet. So each time I take a step, my son takes a step with me.
Michael is able to feel love and support from many people during race day. It is hard to go out in public and find that. The people who make up the teams, Angels, Volunteers, Captains, and families are so caring. Strangers don’t turn their heads because they don’t know what to do or say. It’s the exact opposite. They look FOR Michael and cheer him on.