Bridge run participant runs for the experience of another

Victor Fallon running and pushing Blake Barker as they cross the finish line. (Thomas Lanahan / WCIV)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCIV) – The 40th Annual Cooper River Bridge Run ended with many runners successfully completing a tough course from Mt. Pleasant to Charleston, feeling that joy of success as they crossed the finish line.

For one runner, however, that feeling meant a little bit more.

Victor Fallon participated in this year’s event and did so with Blake Barker. Barker is a 7-year-old who was born with a genetic disorder that affects his brain.

One side of his brain was much larger than the other, which caused Barker to have almost 100 seizures a day by the time he was three months old.

Barker had to have the left part of his brain removed as a result of the condition.

Fallon met Barker and his mother and father, Jennifer and Michael, through a program called Racers for Pacers.

The organization links runners and children with disabilities to give those children a chance to participate in marathons that they otherwise may not have participated in.

Fallon has been training and running with Barker for six months to participate in the wheelchair race. Fallon said he enjoyed pushing and running Saturday to give Barker a chance to experience the race.

“It’s great because, you know, he’ll never get a chance to run the bridge run, so hard as it was, at least I got to push him out there and he got to be a part of it,” Fallon said.

Barker’s father said they ran into the organization “three to four” times prior to meeting Fallon. He said through meeting them, the organization urged the family to be part of the race, which the family quickly came to see as a positive initiative.

Barker’s father said it was an extremely happy time to see Fallon and his son cross that finish line.

“It’s always fun…but it’s really hard to describe in words how important it is to give him a chance to do some normal stuff,” he said. “Not that my other kids would run in the 40th, but it’s nice to have him be part of something that he can’t do on a normal basis.”

Barker’s father went on to say that while he knows his son may not have physically contributed in the race, the main point is that no matter what challenges someone may face, anything can be overcome.

“Blake’s overcome his fair share of obstacles in life and, you know, he’s out here to be part of this and that says a lot to me,” he said.

To learn more about Racers for Pacers and how you can get involved, click here.

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