A truly special event took place in Palmetto Bay’s Coral Reef Park on Sunday, Feb. 28, when Voices For Cerebral Palsy’s second annual “Ribbons and Bows” Walk and 5K Run brought residents and public officials together with both abled and specially abled athletes.
Both the 2K park course and the 5K race began at Coral Reef Park, 7895 SW 152 St., but the 5K began at 8 a.m. and wound through the village while the 2K park course started at 8:30 a.m. and stayed within the park’s boundaries. The 5K race was for runners only. The 2K Walk, Run & Stroll park course accommodated wheelchairs, strollers, gait trainers, walkers and others.
Village Mayor Eugene Flinn said later that he was proud to participate and pleased by the turnout.
“That was the second year it was at Coral Reef Park,” Mayor Flinn said. “It was the first year they had the 5K. Last year they did a walk through the park and this year they added the 5K through the village.
“I participated in it last year and this was the first year I did the 5K. It had a lot of our local people pulling together for this event. It wasn’t a national event; this was all local people doing this.”
Flinn said the walk and race also were very important to Councilmember Karyn Cunningham, whose nephew has cerebral palsy. The mayor thought it was a perfect fit for Palmetto Bay.
“It was just a great event,” Flinn said. “We’re the village of parks, so it’s great to see our parks be used for such a great event, both in terms of the fact that we brought another athletic event, activities for people with special needs, and it raised money for the cause, all within our park, so it was the perfect mix of activities, athletics and community.”
Voices For Cerebral Palsy. aka Samantha’s Purpose. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charitable organization with a mission to increase awareness and understanding of cerebral palsy, to bring families, community members and children of all abilities ptogether; while giving back to the cerebral Palsy community.
Councilmember Cunningham was on the planning committee for the event. For her, it was extremely personal.
“It was truly a unique event,” Cunningham said. “It’s a one-of-a-kind event in South Florida to bring awareness of cerebral palsy. My nephew, Cameron, has cerebral palsy, and I think one of the most unique aspects of the event is that there’s really a focus on bringing the abled and the specially abled together. I know the isolation that families can feel and how often times they’re treated differently, them and the families as well.”
She mentioned one moment during the event that was especially moving.
“The second place winner in the race, a regular abled runner, came over and gave my nephew, who won second place in his category — he’s in a wheelchair — he gave him his award. It’s just touching seeing the abled and the specially abled interacting.”
For information write to Voices for Cerebral Palsy, PO Box 770998, Miami FL 33177, call 305-256-1221, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.