Cecilia Neimann, age 9, did not let cerebral palsy stop her from competing, and winning, the UCP Shawnee Mission Triathlon in the “Challenged Athlete” division.
With the help of family members and friends, and a lot of hard work leading up to the race, Cecilia, who hails from Lenexa, Kansas, realized a dream when she finished and won the race.
The first part of the race Cecilia ran with her grandmother; next was biking, which she did together with a friend of the family. The last leg was swimming, which Cecilia did with her mom, Debbie. Cecilia floated in a raft, while her mother pulled her along for the entire 500 meters of the swim.
Debbie explained that she was inspired by a story she heard about a father who competed with his son in an Ironman triathlon. What began as inspiration turned into a dream come true as Cecilia, with the help of her mom, grandmother and friend, became the first person to win the race’s new “Challenged Athlete” division.
“I can hear her say, ‘Momma, go,’ and the smiles and stuff and anything that’s bothering me just melts away because it’s so inspiring,” Debbie Neimann explained. “I think her disability to her kinda disappears for a few moments and she just feels like a normal kid.”