May the Course be with You

It was still dark outside when James and his family woke up in their Disney California hotel. They put on special t-shirts, laced up their running shoes, and headed out the door for an intergalactic Jedi Adventure, running Disney’s inaugural Star Wars 5K race.

Despite challenges of living with cerebral palsy, James is very athletic and is an avid runner (this was his 9th race). He is a big fan of Star Wars and Disney, so it was a perfect experience to aim for as his Sunshine Dream. James even set a new goal to beat his personal record by one minute.

James was in his element as he ran the race sporting a Yoda shirt that read “Judge me by my size, do you?” and “Size matters not” on the back. As an eight year old boy who completes 5K races at a speedy 32 minutes, not only does size not matter, but neither does he let his condition limit his passion. In fact, he’s a faster runner than his twin brother.

 “James often compares himself to other kids but what’s great about running is that although you’re running against a group, you’re truly running for yourself. You’re always aiming to do better, whether it’s endurance or pace. It boosts his confidence.” – James’ mom recounts.

The race route took James and his family through Disney California Adventure Park® and Disneyland® Resort alongside other runners dressed in Star Wars costumes and t-shirts. They ran through a dark underpass into the epic music of the Star Wars theme song and past storm troopers to the finish line at Downtown Disney. Mace Windu’s character commentated as racers hit the finish line and James watched on the big screen as his brother and mom finished behind him.

After every race, James experiences challenges with recovery but feels that it’s always worth the pain.

"He would change nothing for the feeling he gets when he runs,” his mom tells Sunshine. “He has had challenges over the years from daily physio and to see how far he’s come, the goals he has accomplished, and his grin from ear to ear was amazing."

This Sunshine Dream reinforced James’ belief that he can accomplish
any goals he sets his mind to. “He’s so proud of being able to go there; he tells everyone the great time he had.”

James Star Wars

James Star Wars