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Joseph Maley Foundation’s Run2gether program encourages people with disabilities to participate

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Back row, from left, Julie Gebhart, Tom Wadelton, Tim Weber, and front row, Gwen Gebhart, Kiara Lee and Davian Bartlett participate in a race through the Run2gether program. (Submitted photo).

Back row, from left, Julie Gebhart, Tom Wadelton, Tim Weber, and front row, Gwen Gebhart, Kiara Lee and Davian Bartlett participate in a race through the Run2gether program. (Submitted photo).

By Anna Skinner

Vivian Maley of Zionsville launched the Joseph Maley Foundation after her son lost a battle with leukemia in 2008. The nonprofit continues to grow as it seeks to assist people with disabilities.

“When Joseph passed away, we as a family wanted to start a foundation to continue that work, like disability awareness and spreading that through Indianapolis,” said Maley,  executive director of the foundaiton. “Eight years later, we have seven programs under our umbrella. All of them revolve around our mission of serving children (with disabilities).”

One of JMF’s programs is Run2gether, which was born from adaptive running under the JMF fitness program. The Run2gether initiative uses adaptive chair joggers for runners to push those with disabilities in races or relays.

“We want to engage more athletes of all abilities in opportunities and races they might not otherwise be able to do physically,” Maley said. “We were able to purchase some joggers. Each captain has a crew of about two or three people. It’s just a cool relationship between the athlete and the crew. Recently, we received a $10,000 grant from the OrthoIndy Foundation, and they asked us to come back and apply for another $10,000, so we have money now to purchase a fleet of chairs.”

The Run2gether participants will compete in a Back on my Feet relay in October, and they plan on creating a couple different running groups.

“The running community in Indianapolis is huge,” Maley said. “The interest is really catching on.”

For more, visit josephmaley.org.


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