LOCAL NEWS

Jordan High student athletes help two kids with cerebral palsy enjoy Fun Run

Sep 23, 2022, 9:45 PM | Updated: Sep 25, 2022, 5:41 pm

SANDY, Utah — As thousands of Utahns head to their local high schools for Friday night lights, it’s the Jordan High School athletes that shine a little brighter in the eyes of two Park Lane Elementary students.

Last Friday, two members of the Jordan High School football team showed up at Park Lane Elementary to push 9-year-old Lucas Myrick’s wheelchair in the PTA’s annual Fun Run.

“They ran pretty fast,” Lucas said.

The Beetdiggers’ Cross-Country team also joined in to show their support for 8-year-old Elsa Dent, who was eager to participate in the fun run using her walker.

“I ran super-duper fast,” Elsa said

Lucas and Elsa have cerebral palsy and other health challenges that limit their physical activity. But each child continues to defy odds.

“We didn’t know if he was going to walk, he was going to talk,” said Janell Myrick, Lucas’ mother.

“They didn’t give us a lot of hope,” said Emily Dent, Elsa’s mother. “It’s been amazing to watch her grow and turn into this awesome, determined, stubborn young lady.”

The PTA Fun Run hasn’t always been such a positive experience for Lucas, who often comes in last.

“He can’t be as fast as his peers, he’ll never be as fast as his peers,” Myrick said.

And when his mother mentioned this to a Canyons School District colleague, that colleague quickly jumped into action and called Jordan High’s athletic director.

“We were just super eager to help out. Park Lane is part of our community,” said Joel Sundquist, Jordan High School athletic director.

Sundquist reached out to the Beetdiggers’ football coach, who asked two players to team up with Lucas at the Fun Run and push him the 1.07 miles. But those players did more than just push Lucas, they became his friends.

“The team now is the Wheelies!” Lucas said. “I got the idea from the wheelchair.”

The players pushed Lucas at a record pace, and towards the end of the course, he got out of his wheelchair and wanted to try running with his new friends.

“I was beating one of them on my legs,” Lucas said. “I was running ahead of him, he couldn’t even keep up with me!”

“They were able to include somebody who is always usually last,” Myrick said. “He was like everybody else for that moment in time.”

Shortly after Lucas cross the finish line, Elsa followed. She ran the entire race using her walker.

“We got to the corner and I’m cheering for her and everybody behind me started cheering for her,” Dent said.

“And the police, they were cheering,” Elsa added.

“It just felt really great to have all these kids cheering for her and making her feel like a superstar because she is,” Dent said.

For Lucas and Elsa, the Fun Run has now become one of their favorite school activities, and the two can’t wait to participate again next year.

“I love the fun run,” Elsa said.

“It was really great, especially right at the beginning, and she was behind everybody and she didn’t even care, she was just excited to be doing it herself,” Dent said.

Sundquist said the Jordan High School student-athletes who participated in the fun run embody everything the Beetdiggers are trying to do in the community — build, uplift, and create inclusion. He hopes all the students at Park Lane Elementary know they’re part of the Beetdigger family.

“We are trying to embody the best parts of our community,” Sundquist said. “I personally really buy into the idea that the candle loses nothing by lighting another candle, and as many candles as we can light, like Lucas’ and Elsa’s, is a perfect example of that.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

The 6-month-old troublemaker leading first responders on a chase on I-80. (Salt Lake County Animal ...
Michael Houck

Stray dog runs loose at entrance of Parleys Canyon freeway

A stray puppy gave first responders a slow-speed chase on the highway entrance of Parleys Canyon Sunday.
18 hours ago
Lava flowing from Mauna Loa Volcano during the night. (KSL-TV's Carissa Hutchinson)...
Shelby Lofton

‘It’s kind of an eerie feeling;’ Utah man living in Hawaii witnesses Mauna Loa eruption

A Utah man has a front-row seat to the Mauna Loa Volcano eruption happening on the Big Island of Hawaii.
18 hours ago
(FILE) Utah Tech University in St. George is pictured on Friday June 10, 2022. On July 1, what was...
Michael Houck

Utah Tech student dead after accidently falling from balcony

ST. GEORGE, Utah — A freshman Utah Tech University student is dead after accidentally falling from a fifth-floor balcony early Sunday morning. In a Utah Tech statement, student Peyton Hall fell from the fifth-floor balcony at Campus View Suites II at approximately 2:30 a.m. while with roommates and friends. The witnesses called 911, and first […]
18 hours ago
Three men are facing federal charges for allegedly robbing a postal carrier at gunpoint and taking ...
Brooke Williams

Man arrested after lengthy search, one still wanted

A 22-year-old man was arrested early Sunday after fleeing from a traffic stop.
18 hours ago
A West Valley police car. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)...
Brooke Williams

Two dead after crashing into parked truck

Two died in a crash in West Valley.
18 hours ago
Keith Jensen's Christmas home lit up by all the festive lights. (KSL-TV)...
Michael Locklear

Millcreek man lights up neighborhood with the face of Santa

Millcreek man is spreading Christmas cheer through tens of thousands of lights all around his home.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Jordan High student athletes help two kids with cerebral palsy enjoy Fun Run