myTEAM TRIUMPH Story
The RunSTRONG 5k is exactly ONE MONTH from today! Have you registered yet? If you needed just one more reason to get motivated for Race Day on July 13th, let us share a story with you about this year’s proceeds recipient, myTEAM TRIUMPH! This story was originally published in the Battle Creek Enquirer back in 2017. It’s just SO good, we had to republish it here again. THIS is why you should participate in this year’s RunSTRONG 5k!
Mother And Son Share Triumphant Run
by Nick Buckley
With help of MyTeamTriumph, J.T. and Mary Faber run together at Battle Creek 5K
Mary Faber loves running.
This is not news to anyone who knows her.
When she was Mary Lantinga, she was a cross country state champion at St. Philip Catholic Central High School before continuing her running career at Michigan State University.
The Battle Creek native has run in the Chicago Marathon as well as the pinnacle of distance running — the Boston Marathon.
Yet it was the 5K race in her hometown on Saturday that she described as “the most fun.”
The reason: She was able to run with her 11-year-old son J.T. Faber, pushing him in a special wheelchair provided by the organization MyTeamTriumph.
“It was absolutely awesome. It was something I’ve wanted to do for years but never had the means to do it,” Mary Faber said. “It brings tears to my eyes. As he’s gotten older and he’s gotten bigger, I just don’t have the equipment to do it.”
J.T. Faber was born severely multiply impaired. Although non-verbal and a quadriplegic, there was no mistaking the smile on his face Saturday.
J.T. Faber was one of three “captains” to help kick off the Battle Creek 5K race around the W.K. Kellogg Airport, riding alongside Sebastian Boice, 18 months, and Mykella Powell, 15 — both of Jackson. Each were flanked by at least three “angels” provided by MyTeamTriumph, a nonprofit created for children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities who would not normally be able to experience events such as road races or triathlons.
“Our mission is all about enriching relationships,” said Keith Lubbers, founder and president of the Michigan chapter of MyTeamTriumph. “We’re out to give these special needs kids something normal and something to fit in with everyone else.”
Mary and J.T. Faber last raced together when he was 3-years-old, running the Cereal City 5K. On Saturday, J.T. was in a specialty-made “small chair,” which Lubbers estimated cost around $1,200 when factoring in storage and maintenance.
“I have never thought this opportunity would be available to me and to J.T.,” Mary Faber said. “It’s like a bucket list thing.”