Joel tackles 5km Fun Walkathon
The Team that work with Joel decided that as he really enjoyed walking, he might like to participate in the Te Awamutu 5km Fun Walkathon.
We showed him the brochure and indicated thumbs up or down to him. He replied witha thumbs up, so we put steps in place for him to start training for the event. Joel, with his house mates, Darrell and Allan, trained by walking around the Hamilton Lake, with Dave Schrader, Kenny Kara and I also training in support.
On Sunday the 21st of June 2015, Joel took part in the Annual Te Awamutu 5km Fun Walkathon supported by his Community Facilitators, Kenny, Kara and I, walking alongside him. The event had attracted a large number of participants and supporters from all over the district. We gathered at the starting line, which was at the local Wananga, with the weather looking very overcast.
As we raced off together, Joel soon found a steady pace for us all to maintain. He loved seeing the different groups of people in their fluro sportswear walking past him, and seeing the many different sights along the way. Occasionally, Joel would stop us and smell the different scents coming from the flowers or hedges, and rub his hands along concrete walls or fences. All these different types of smells and textures fascinate Joel because, for those of you who do not know him, he is deaf and autistic. Joel would stop at the water stations and enjoy a cool cup of water before we continued on our way together. He also had his own Support Team following in the van, his house mates, Darrell and Allan, who waved to him as we walked past them. Awesome encouragement guys !!
As we came closer to the finishing line, Joel received good wishes, cheers and claps from all the spectators on the side lines and finishing line. Joel’s finishing time was recorded at 45 minutes. What an awesome accomplishment, well done!! Joel and his house mates celebrated by enjoying MacDonald’s for lunch.
Story written by Colleen Matangi, Community Facilitator
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