Adaptive Triathlons: A Win-Win-Win For All Involved

Here at FATWHEELS we are all about inclusion.  And that’s why I was so excited when Kelley Newman of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN., contacted me. Kelley organizes the hospital’s Tri My Best Triathlon. A swim, bike, run event for children of all abilities. This unique buddy program pairs children with and without disabilities to complete a race together as a team, using modifications if necessary.

Kelley said that children can complete the swim portion of the race by being pulled in a raft by their buddy or swimming with a noodle; whereas, the bike portion can be finished on an adaptive bike or by pedaling a standard bike alongside their buddy.  Finally, the run portion of the race can be completed on the athlete’s own two feet or by being pushed in a wheelchair or jogging stroller by their buddy.

The goal of the program is not just physical, but social as well.  Kelley said that she intends to match buddies and athletes of similar ages, in order to encourage peer interaction and help friendships grow.

Kelley is passionate and it’s infectious. “By working as a team, each child learns that winning is not just what happens at the end of the race, but during the journey of getting there together,” she said.

After that statement — I was sold. I loved the concept and was determined to get involved. I mobilized my team and we backed the event wholeheartedly.

The first  Tri My Best Triathlon was held eight years ago in Augusta, GA.  Since then, the concept has grown and this year adaptive triathlons are being organized nationwide. I encourage you to attend one. They are a fabulous way to spend a day as a volunteer, family member, athlete or simply a spectator.

Kelley said:

Everyone should experience a Tri My Best Triathlon.  Athletes, both with and without disabilities, are always proud of their accomplishment. Parents of children with disabilities are usually astounded at the ability of their child to complete a race, and parents of children who are helping as buddies are proud of their child’s efforts to help another child achieve success. Bystanders along the race course and finish line are very moved by the unity and efforts of each buddy team.

I couldn’t have said it any better.

Why not take it one step further and organize your own Tri My Best event? If you are a private therapy clinic enlist your staff and go for it! If you’re a parent, gather family members or special needs parents in your community and make it happen!  Ask a special education teacher or physical therapist if they or some of their colleagues might want to get involved.  Contacting your local children’s hospital or the physical therapy department at a university in your area may also be a good place to start.  To get in touch with others, who have already taken the plunge, here are some contacts:

Kelley Newman
Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital (Nashville, TN)

Mary Eckhard
St. Louis Children’s Hospital (St. Louis, MO)

Tender Touch Therapy (Kenosha, WI)

To discuss sponsorships or any equipment needs you may have for FATWHEELS adaptive training wheels, please contact me directly at:

Let’s work together to help this movement continue to spread!

Until next time,











Regain Your Balance with Adult FATWHEELS

Regain your Balance Pic

If you are a senior, you may be helping your grand kids learn how to ride a bike. You watch as they make the transition from training wheels to riding independently. Their journey is not without wobbling, falling, and scraped knees. You help them up with encouraging words, a kiss, and a Band-Aid. Eventually, you witness the pure joy on their face as they finally manage to pedal without training wheels!

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Meet Chris Kennard

Chris Kennard is a 13-year-old from De Pere, Wisconsin. He is a reader, a swimmer, and now with the help of FATWHEELS… a cyclist!

Christmas Morning

A new bike with a set of Large FATWHEELS was waiting for Chris beside the tree on Christmas morning.  His father, Jay Kennard, also purchased a bike stand trainer hoping it  would help Chris develop his pedaling skills.  Jay reports that he had trouble at first, but by adding foot cages to the pedals, Chris can keep his feet straight enough to pedal for 15 minutes at a time. A BIG accomplishment for Chris. Continue reading →

Meet Rachael Wrobel

Rachael Blog Pic

I first met Rachael at a bowling alley.  She is a support worker for people with disabilities and she was there with a client. At the time, I was looking for someone to work with my son and Rachael was highly recommended. Acquaintances told me she was a safe driver, filled out paperwork on time and was very engaged with her clients. She sounded perfect, so I walked over to meet her. I waited while she finished assisting a young man with his bowling shoes before I stuck out my hand to introduce myself.  She extended her hand towards me and that’s when I noticed that she has no fingers. Yes, you read that correctly—the girl who drove to the bowling alley, helped her client with his fine motor tasks and filled out service logs…Has. No. Fingers.

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My Son Has a Speech Disorder and it Rocks!


My son Geordi has a speech disorder that is annoying, heartbreaking and funny at the same time. My patience wears thin when I listen to him s-l-o-w-l-y  work through what he is trying to say.  Other times, my heart goes out to him as he struggles to express his feelings.  But mostly he simply cracks me up with some of the stuff that comes out of his mouth.

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“Mom, Get Out of My Life But…”


I was in a bookstore the other day when I saw the title of a book that almost made me snort latte out of my nose.  It was called Get Out of My Life, but First Could You Drive Me and Cheryl To The Mall?   by Dr. Anthony E. Wolf PhD.

This title is a perfect description of my current reality with my son.

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