Four Years ago, with no use of her legs and limited use of her arms due to cerebral palsy, Lindsey Ellis completed the SRI TRI.
This is a story by Julie B. Connerley printed in September 2005 in the Gulf Breeze News .
More than 900 athletes are registered to compete in the 10th annual Santa Rosa Island Triathlon this Saturday beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Pensacola Beach. Among them, mostly seasoned amateurs, some world class professionals, and always a new slate of “first timers” including a very special young lady named Lindsey Ellis.
Anyone who participates in triathlons will fondly recall his or her first competition. For Lindsey, 18, this event will be especially memorable because she has cerebral palsy and could not fulfill this dream without the help of many others.
It is Lindsey’s competitive spirit and joy of life that set the wheels in motion after she was introduced to running by her aunt, Wendy Ellis, about five years ago. Ellis, 44, has been teaching physical education in the Escambia County school district for the past 20 years. She has been running competitively for the past nine years and invited Lindsey along one fateful day.
With no use of her legs, and limited use of her arms, Lindsey concentrates on using her abdominal muscles to keep her upper body in the proper position as her aunt pushes the wheelchair along. After that first race, Lindsey was hooked and asked her aunt when was the next race and could they do it faster next time!
Lindsey’s family lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but whenever possible, aunt and niece have raced 5-k runs together. When Wendy was approaching 40, she set a goal of competing in her first triathlon by her birthday. She trained hard and that effort did not go unnoticed by Lindsey who decided she wanted to compete in a triathlon too!
Last year, Lindsey informed her aunt that she had written to Oprah Winfrey asking help to purchase the special equipment needed for them to participate in the event. That letter was an eye opener for Wendy.
“I had no idea how serious she was about wanting to do a triathlon,” said Ellis. “It was so inspiring to hear her determination that I immediately began looking for a source of funding to help us with the expenses.”
She found the financial resources through the BALANCE BAR Grants Program. Started in 1992, the Balance Bar company produces snack-type food bars based on the 40/30/30 nutrition philosophy for providing sustained energy and hunger management. Read the rest of this entry »