With the emergence of cutting-edge technology, the explosion of social media, and the Internet serving as the pseudo, post-millennial Grub Street, many natural souls lament the idea of the world growing smaller. In this, the information age, knowledge and communication are at the tip of our fingers, but there is still an absence of exploration that lingers.
Fortunately, in the wake of our sudden seclusion, we are granted the benefit to focus our insight toward the difficulties that several individuals have to face daily. In the field of health and wellness, intelligence and ideas have since become expansive. Boundaries that once existed for those with disabilities have been altered and subjugated. Without anything holding them back, those with special needs can now share in different sports and activities with their peers. They can play baseball, hockey, soccer, and are even given the opportunity compete in a race unlike any other. ACCESS and The Miracle League of Wilmington (MLW) have teamed up to make these past impossibilities a modern reality.
The Audi of Cape Fear Miracles in Motion Home Run is the first all-accessible race to take place in the local region. On Sunday, February 16th, the run/walk/roll will take place at Brax Stadium, Wilmington’s own Miracle Field in Olsen Park. The event offers a 5K run and fitness walk through the trails of the park, as well as a 1K (.62 miles) course that is fully accessible. Miracle League’s executive director, L.S. “Bo” Dean Jr., strives to provide a chance for every participant. “We believe that everyone deserves an equal opportunity,” Dean explains.
ACCESS and MLW make it easier for those with disabilities to overcome obstacles. The miracle field contains a special, rubberized turf-playing surface that enables individuals with mobility issues participation in a variety of different sports. The bases are inlaid to allow the use of wheelchairs and other mobility devices full-fledged freedom to navigate. Wilmington’s field, unlike miracle fields in other parts of the country, was built to accommodate adults and children. Multiple users, from special education classes, to nursing home residents, to veterans programs, to Special Olympics athletes and Wounded Warriors, come to the field.
Neighboring the Miracle Field is the Kiwanis Miracle Playground, the largest accessible playground in the southeast. Made possible by a combination of Wilmington and New Hanover County bond funds, donations from the local Kiwanis Club and Wilmington Believes in Miracles campaign, 150 volunteers helped build the exclusive playground.
The Miracle League of Wilmington’s goal is to provide sports activities, along with health and wellness, for persons with all disabilities and specifically for persons in and around the Cape Fear region. Everybody involved in the organization inspire and fuel Dean.
“Our mission encompasses being able to provide these opportunities for the largest population of persons with disabilities in the state of North Carolina,” Dean says.
He is extremely proud of the contributions from the surrounding community. Dean brought the idea of a race to the attention of the board as another event The Miracle League of Wilmington could use as a stepping-stone to spread their mission. “It was through teamwork that we were able to come up with both,” Dean says—“a course that every person could participate in regardless. The 1K idea came from the community. It was us really bearing down on our message that everything should be universally accessible and there should be no barrier keeping anyone from being a part of anything that we do.”
The miracle field at Brax Stadium presented an exceptional place to host this specialized event. Likewise, several families and local companies in Wilmington have become involved in the “Home Run” to make it the best it can be.
“We are blessed with a very special group of people who want to help and be a part of this wonderful event,” Dean explains. “There are plenty of things in store for those who are racing that day to come out and enjoy.”
Cape Fear Audi is the top sponsor, along with Olsen Farms. Fuzzy Peach will be involved in some of the giveaways, while LM Restaurants and Hospitality Management (Bluewater Grill, Oceanic, Carolina Ale House, Hops Supply Company, Eddie Romanellis) will provide the awards for the top racers. Buffalo Wild Wings will bring a feast of snacks to give the racers their hard-earned nourishment. Students from UNCW Leadership, Special Education and Recreational Therapy will also be on site to host accessible games and pick-up sports. Multiple community partners and therapeutic centers will give out information. Everyone is welcome and can even bring their dogs. The Karma Foundation will set up dog stations.
To register for the race, and for more information on how to volunteer and help The Miracle League, visit miracleleaguewilm.org. To be a part of the 5K run and fitness walk, the fee is $30, and $25 to participate in the 1K. All proceeds will benefit and support the programs of ACCESS of Wilmington and The Miracle League. Customized race shirts for the event are included; parking and transportation will be available by VIP Party Bus.
The day will be full of plenty of surprises and activities. The run, timed by GO-Time race management, will commence at 2 p.m. on the PPD Miracle Field. Those participating in the 1K will begin at 2:05 p.m. The newly crowned Miss Outstanding Teen, Kenzie Hansley—whose platform has been with The Miracle League and Special Olympics—will fire the gun marking the ceremonial start to the race.
At the conclusion of the run/walk/roll, Audi of Cape Fear will feature a photo booth for all the participants to help capture a perfect moment. The racers can even upload their pictures to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, sharing the support of MLW with their friends and followers all around this ever-shrinking earth.
It’s true; the world isn’t getting any bigger. But virtue comes with appreciating the little things in life. And big things come in small packages. So maybe this technological epidemic of our planet downsizing isn’t all happening for the worst. Maybe it’s happening for the best. Maybe it’s happening to help design miracles.
Miracles in Motion
Sunday, February 16th, 2 p.m.
Brax Stadium, PPD Miracle Field, Olsen Park • 5510 Olsen Park Lane
Registration fees: $25-$30