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This 'Marathon Man' With Cri du Chat Syndrome Defies Stereotypes

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In the wake of the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, my family and I attended a send-off celebration for Minnesota athletes traveling to California to compete. We strongly believe in their mission of promoting inclusion and providing opportunity for people with disabilities. It’s making a difference, and we’ve seen it specifically with my brother, Zach, who’s a Special Olympics athlete.

Among the positivity and inspiration floating throughout the room, there was one special story shared on stage by a Special Olympics athlete that left me stunned in my seat. It was Jim Chalmers. He recalled the emotional ups and downs of living with cri du chat syndrome and shared how the opportunities Special Olympics has given him dramatically changed his path. I sat in my chair that evening and knew I had to tell Jim’s story. The next morning, I approached Ed Heil, the owner of StoryTeller, and he agreed within seconds.

I called Jim shortly after the event and within a few weeks we were sitting in Jim’s living room, capturing moments, struggles and triumphs from his life’s journey.

Jim breaks barriers, stereotypes and judgments of people with disabilities. He ignites a fire within all of us to keep pushing, keep trying, keep running. He’s a true inspiration. No wonder the CEO of Red Wing Shoes told us that Jim was the most important of his 2,000 employees.

Watch his story and you’ll see why I was stapled to my seat the night I listened to him speak.

“I always felt there was something missing from my life.This is why I run.”

See more StoryTeller videos on their blog.

The Mighty is asking the following: Share a conversation you’ve had that changed the way you think about disability, disease or mental illness. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.


Originally published: June 15, 2016
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