Team Run Free: Delivering Smiles For Miles

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DES MOINES, Iowa  —  13-year-old Amara Dunham has Cerebral Palsy.  But she’s transformed every time she’s transferred from her wheelchair to the jog stroller.

She decided she wanted to “run” after watching a 20k race roll through downtown Des Moines.  Her mother, Julie Dunham, wasn’t sure how she was going to make that happen.

“And then Team Run Free shows up and it’s been amazing.”

Kevin Hircock is the founder of Team Run Free, an organization that pairs able-bodied runners, called navigators, with people with physical disabilities, called captains.

“I became a runner several years ago,” says Hircock.  “I wanted to share that joy or fun with those who couldn’t do it on their own.”

It means the world to Julie Dunham.

“After her first race she told me she felt like she was running.  After the second race, she told me it was like shed didn’t have Cerebral Palsy.”

Amara Dunham says it gives her freedom.

“It gives me a chance to do something I love.”

There’s lots of love to go around.  Navigator Hannah Hawkins has been running with Team Run Free for two years.

“It’s hard to explain,” says Hawkins.  “Doing something for someone else that they can’t do for themselves – it makes my heart happy.”

Hircock calls the navigators the “heart behind the cart.”

They too are transformed, simply by sharing the joy of running.


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