Tuesday, August 19 2014 4:10 PM EDT2014-08-19 20:10:07 GMT
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Michigan teen with Cerebral Palsy has clocked over 1,000 miles in races and
walks – with his dad behind him every step of the way.
the past four years, Johnny Agar's father Jeff has pushed him across countless
Team Agar, it doesn't matter how you start the race, what's important is how
race in Lowell Township, MI, started like any other: Dad pushing Johnny from
behind. Midway into the first mile of the St. Patrick's 5K, however, Johnny
ditched his wheels and, for the first time, set out to finish the race on his
thought, ‘Dad's done so much for me,'" Johnny said. "I thought I should give
him a break for a little bit. It was cool, ‘cause I got to experience what he
gets to experience when he cross the finish line."
his family watching, Johnny took it step by step, not letting his disability
he was born, he struggled to take his first breath," said Johnny's mother
Becki. "Everything was a struggle for him, but in the end, he always has such a
positive attitude. Even if he doesn't accomplish what he needs to do, his
attitude always gets him through it, and I think that was a great example…of
how he perseveres and he conquers what he thinks he can't do, and he does it."
told his church that if he could walk a mile, then everyone else should be able
to run the 3.1-mile race.
the time he made the turn back toward the finish line, an overwhelming crowd of
support pushed Johnny to finish. Other runners came back from their race to see
him to the end.
a compliment to the parish, how good it is here," Johnny said. "It made it
easier for me, with them behind me…The encouragement was what drove me to do
walk a mile in his own shoes – a lifelong dream for Johnny Agar, now a personal
the beginning, I felt really good," he said. "But towards the end, I started to
pay for it a little bit, but it was fun."
was hardly a dry eye at the finish line. Johnny's courageous journey empowered
the spirit of the community he so dearly loves, teaching all a lesson: It doesn't
matter how you start the race, what's important is how you finish.