Teen with cerebral palsy inspires others by walking a 5K - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Teen with cerebral palsy inspires others by walking a 5K

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Johnny and his dad Johnny and his dad
LOWELL TOWNSHIP, MI (Toledo News Now) -

A 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.

For the past four years, Johnny Agar's father Jeff has pushed him across countless finish lines.

For Team Agar, it doesn't matter how you start the race, what's important is how you finish.

The 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 own.

"I 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."

With his family watching, Johnny took it step by step, not letting his disability define him.

"When 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."

Johnny told his church that if he could walk a mile, then everyone else should be able to run the 3.1-mile race.

By 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.

"It's 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 it."

To walk a mile in his own shoes – a lifelong dream for Johnny Agar, now a personal triumph.

"Toward 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."

There 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.

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