God's House Of Worship
Speedway, Indiana - (317) 293-9870
TITLE: Not ALL Handicapped People Are Welcome At The Festival 500 Mini-Marathon or Race For The Cure
DATE: Monday, May 9, 2011
TO: All News Media, Local, National and International
FROM: Pastor Benjamin John, Godís House of Worship Church, Speedway, Indiana
RE: Godís House of Worship is a non-denominational Church that meets every Sunday night at 7pm for worship services and on Thursday nights at 7pm for Bible Discussion in Speedway. The church services are open to all, but primarily serve a community of elderly and handicapped people living in an assisted living facility at 6038 W 25th Street, Speedway, Indiana. The church is also involved in an outreach ministry called Operation Open-Up (located in Indianapolis, Indiana) which provides cell phones to disadvantaged people who need them as a point of contact for jobs and other reasons. Pastor Benjamin John is originally from Spring Valley, New York, and is the Senior Pastor of God's House of Worship. He is also a trained Chaplain and recently participated in additional classes known as Breaking Through I & II which provide those involved with a chance to update and improve their people skills.
CONTACT: Phone: (317) 293-9870, Email: email@example.com
WEBSITES: Church: http://pastorbenjohn.tripod.com , Operation Open-Up: http://thecpop.ning.com/
Despite laws that are designed to protect us and give handicapped people the best possible quality of life, it seems that some people and organizations just don't get it. Two such organizations are Race For The Cure (Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure in Central Indiana) and the Festival 500 Mini-Marathon. I first contacted the Race For The Cure three years ago about participating in their run on my Top End Recumbent Three Wheeled Hand Bike. They said that they did not allow those types of bikes in their run. A year ago I contacted the Festival 500 Mini-Marathon and made the same request. They also said that such bikes were not allowed. However, I noticed that people showing up for the Race for the Cure had everything from Roller Skates to what appear to be springs on their sneakers when they came to run based on the TV coverage and photos available online. Regarding the mini-marathon, three-wheeled wheel chairs were allowed to compete.
I have been told that the primary argument against allowing hand-cranked bikes was that they are fast and difficult to control. If that's true, what about the three-wheeled wheelchairs? They are VERY fast and, if the person using one was untrained, would also probably be difficult to control. As a person with cerebral palsy, I feel that the sponsors of these events are discriminating against one group of handicapped people in favor of another. I am perfectly able to crank and control my three wheeled bike. It cost three thousand dollars, was donated to me and is sitting in the garage of a family member collecting dust. Please note that I am already a USA champion having competed in various races throughout the nation. I even had an opportunity to compete overseas, but did not have the sponsors or funds to do so.
I wanted to be a part of the Race For The Cure to support a worthwhile cause. I also wanted to honor the memory of my father and uncles who died of cancer, as well as my two sisters who happen to be cancer survivors. I wanted to be a part of the mini-marathon just to prove that I could bike from downtown Indy to the 500 track in Speedway (where I live). Imagine my frustration living in the town known for being the place where the grandfather of all auto races is held every year, yet being excluded from their mini-marathon just because my particular disability doesn't happen to fit into their catagory list. I asked one of my church members to call the offices of Festival 500 to verify that they did not allow my type of bike to compete. They said that was correct, but were unable to provide me with a reason for not allowing me to compete with my Top End Recumbent Three wheeled Hand Bike. Please note, again, that there is very little difference between my bike and the three-wheeled wheel chairs whose owners are currently allowed to compete.
Please note that everyday is a challange for me. It just doesn't seem fair that additional challanges should come from a group that desires to raise money for cancer research by having people participate in a fund-raising run which I cannot participate in or help raise funds for; and from an event which takes place in my own home town, which I am singled out and completely excluded from while people with other handicapes from all over the world are welcomed with open arms to participate. I guess it's all about them and people like me are left on the sidelines wondering WHY we cannot participate and are excluded. These events have been all over the radio, television, newspapers and internet. The coverage of them has been loud and clear. I wonder if the news media will give those, like me, who seem to have no voice, no right to participate or say in the matter the same courtesy by telling our story with the same vigor.
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