Camas dad runs with son for cerebral palsy fundraising

Camas dad runs with son for cerebral palsy fundraising

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by Michael Berk

kgw.com

Posted on March 27, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 27 at 11:06 AM

CAMAS, Wash. -- When Jeff Snell is running and the finish line is nowhere in sight, he calls upon a favorite quote of his and ultimately finds the kick he needs to finish the run.

"I run because I can," he says. "When I get tired, I remember those who can't run, what they would give to have this simple gift I take for granted."

For the last three years, Jeff and his wife Suzie have learned to take nothing for granted. Not with their 3-year-old son Micah serving as a daily reminder to take nothing for granted.

"It's very hard, as any parent can imagine," Jeff was saying in the family's living room. "You have dreams for your child, then you have to adjust those dreams."

The Snell's have spent the past 18 months adjusting.  That's how long it's been since Micah was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

"Once we got our heads above water a little," Suzie explained, "it was easier to not focus on us, or Micah and what's going to happen tomorrow. It was more, 'How can we use this to help others?'"

The Snells have found a way, by having Jeff run in various marathons to raise money and awareness about cerebral palsy. While Jeff runs, he pushes Micah in his stroller for the entire route. Their foundation is appropriately named Micah's Miles.

"He'll sleep sometimes," Jeff said of the 26.2 mile journeys. "Other times he'll encourage me on."

Micah's form of encouragement is much different than clapping and cheering, as he is unable to do either. But he still has an impact on Jeff's running, and beyond.

"He just has this little light in him that shines," Jeff said. "And whenever people are around him they love him. So we know he can change the world."

While we wait and watch for Micah to change it, for now, he and Jeff will settle for simply running all over it.

"If I'm ever having a bad day, or it's mile 22 on the marathon, I mean seriously, he can't walk it, he can't talk, can't sit up," he said. "I mean get over myself and get focused on what's important here."

The Snell family has spent three years focusing on what's important.

Cerebral palsy may have no known finish line. But if there is one out there, Jeff will reach it. From his stroller, Micah would actually touch the tape first.

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