Father-son team crossing US to help the disabled run

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Shaun Evans, his wife Nichole, and sons Shamus, 9, and Simon, 7, are on a journey across the country to raise funds for Ainsley's Angels and promote active lifestyles for children with disabilities. They stopped in Beloit on day 40 of their trip. Dad Shaun is running and pushing Shamus in a mobility chair.

Shaun Evans, his wife, Nichole, and sons Shamus, 9, and Simon, 7, spent day 40 of a cross country journey in Beloit.

Dad Shaun has been running while pushing his son Shamus in a mobility race chair as his wife and other son ride alongside in an RV. Although Shamus was born with cerebral palsy, his father wants him to experience the joys of running.

“They can feel what it’s like to roll with the wind,” Shaun said. “All too often kids with disabilities are left to watch, and we don’t want that to be that way.”

The family passed through Beloit on Tuesday and were headed to Schaumburg, Ill. where they were to deliver a mobility race chair.

They call their journey Power to Push, a 3,205-mile run from Seattle, Washington to New York City to raise awareness of Ainsley’s Angels and promote active lifestyles for children with disabilities. Shaun averages about 60 miles per day of running with Shamus as the “support crew” drives along.

To help more people with disabilities get “freedom chariots,” the family is helping to raise funds for Ainsley’s Angels of America, a non-profit organization that pairs able-bodied volunteer runners with people who have physical disabilities preventing them from running races on their own.

The family has already raised $100,000 and are donating 26 running chariots to families of children with disabilities. The RV is attached to a trailer full of the chariots which are distributed to families along the journey. The chairs typically cost around $1,000 each and aren’t usually covered by insurance.

Shaun said he had always been running, but when Shamus turned 7 he wouldn’t fit into his jogging stroller anymore and the family found the need for an oversize running chariot. The family contacted Ainsley’s Angels which helped them get their running chariot.

Shamus, who enjoys an active life of basketball, golf, bowling, fishing, Cub Scouts and more, decided he wanted to “pay it forward.”

During their journey, Shamus’s favorite spots have been visiting Mount Rushmore, running through Yellowstone National Park and a stop at the Field of Dreams movie location in Iowa. The family has also enjoyed a warm reception in communities they have donated chairs to, often receiving police escorts and little parades.

The Evans family lives in upstate New York near the Adirondack Mountains where Shaun works is a physical therapist.

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