Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Conner and Cayden Long Win Sportkids of the Year and Inspire Many [Video]

For many brothers, running around and playing sports is how they spend time together and bond- but for most siblings in Conner and Cayden Long's situation, this would not be possible. Conner Long is nine years old and his little brother Cayden is seven.

 At just four months old Cayden was diagnosed with hypertonic cerebral palsy, a condition leaving him unable to walk or even talk on his own. For many years Cayden was not able to participate in any sports-related activities and his parents were advised to put him in a home, but even such grim news didn't stop Conner from ensuring his little brother would have those opportunities. 

A year and a half ago, Conner and Cayden began participating in triathlons together. Since then they have travelled up and down the East coast competing in races. While Conner swims he pulls Cayden behind him in a raft, while he runs he pushes Cayden in a little trailer, and then when he bikes he pulls Cayden behind him in the same trailer.

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 Although often finishing in last place, the two brothers always finish with smiles on their faces- never feeling more like winners. This touching story of the human spirit and the incredible heart of one little boy is what landed the pair in Sports Illustrated Kids as the 2012 Sportskids of the Year. 

Since Conner first got the idea from seeing an advertisement for the Nashville Kids Triathlon, he and Cayden have competed in 14 races, varying from "fun runs" to triathlons. 

 Now when Conner and Cayden attend races, many people stop and tell them how inspiring they are or ask for a picture. Their Facebook page receives tons of new posts of encouragement each day from strangers, especially parents of special needs children. 
When asked about how he feels about being referred to as a hero, Conner says he doesn't really understand all the hype, that he just sees these races as an opportunity for him and his brother to have fun together

Conner may not see himself as a hero, but his actions for his little brother have inspired countless people. The Long brothers provide hope for people who may have been told there isn't any and a reminder that kids with special needs can also be a part of the same activities that other kids are doing everyday. 

Click here to watch the inspirational story of Conner and Cayden Long- and get your tissues ready!

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