Northwest Special Families to host annual 5K this month

Participants of the Can Do Run 5k event last year. - Courtesy photo
Participants of the Can Do Run 5k event last year.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Northwest Special Families (NSF) will partner with the Northshore YMCA to host the 6th Annual CAN DO 5K run/walk April 26.

The race was started by NSF as a safe event for disabled children to participate in and to raise awareness to the community of how to treat disabled children. “As a parent to a child with different abilities, it is important to me to show the world what people with disabilities can do,” said Natalia Bynum, race director. Last year’s event was a great success with around 1,100 registered participants and many community teams. More than $30,000 was raised to help fund NSF’s year-round programs and the Northshore Y’s Partners with Youth Campaign. This year, 1,500 participants are expected.

“When we first started this, we had no idea what we were doing,” said Amy Young, organizer. “The heart at the beginning was to raise funds so we could develop programming for our kids with disabilities, but now it’s become much more. It’s a message to everyone, not just our disabled kids, that you can do it, you can reach past your limitations and achieve your goal.”

Presented by Woodinville Pediatric Dentistry, the race takes place at Seattle Times Park’s North Creek in Bothell. This is the first year for the competitive 1-mile race. Coordinated by Rich Bennett of the Northshore Y, it replaces the 10K event from previous years.

“The mile is an iconic distance and resonates with the avid runner,” Bennett said. “The challenge of the mile race is not the distance but the effort involved. It really pushes you to go hard.”

This chip-timed race will feature five divisions for men and women. Space is limited in each division.

“The best part about this event is seeing our community come together and knowing how much they care,” Young said.

Participants and teams are encouraged to reach out to their communities to raise funds. Proceeds support NSF programming, such as inclusive and specialized camps, on-going education, and family support such as guest lectures. Funds also support the Northshore Y’s Partners in Youth campaign, which enables children, who otherwise would not have the opportunity, to participate in programs that focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

Young said her disabled son looks forward to the event every year.

“My son loves being around people and it use to be hard for me to take him out in the community because people were not aware of how to act around him,” she said. “I feel that this is a safe event for us, for me to bring him out to a group of people who are there to learn how to act around him and are not out to judge me. My son’s face lights up so much when he crosses that finish line and is met with cheers.”

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