On May 8, Kari Craddock from Trumbull, received a very special wish from the Make a Wish Foundation. She raced in the Neverland 5K at Disneyland with Tatyana McFadden, paralympic gold medalist and 14x world champion.
Kari, age 11, has been a fan of Tatyana for several years. They were both born with spina bifida which affects the leg muscles. They also share a love of wheelchair sports. Kari is a member of the Hospital for Special Care Adaptive Sports program and has competed with the wheelchair track and field team since she was 5-years-old.
In addition to racing with Tatyana in their Tinkerbell costumes, Kari says her favorite part of the weekend was “hanging out with Tatyana and going on the rides at Disneyland.” They also talked about their favorite races and Tatyana gave Kari a few racing tips.
Kari is a FitKids Youth Ambassador for the Hartford Marathon Foundation. She encourages kids of all abilities to participate in fitness activities.
A fifth grade student at Jane Ryan Elementary School, Kari is currently participating in the Kids’ Marathon program during recess. Her goal was to complete the marathon by the end of May.
Last summer, she competed in the National Junior Disability Championships held at Iowa State University. She placed first in seven events (60m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, Discus and Shotput) in her age classification. This year, Kari will be moving to a new age group. She looks forward to being able to participate in longer distance races and dreams of being a member of Team USA at the Paralympic Games.
According to her dad, Scott, “Kari’s abilities far surpass her disability.” Although she uses a wheelchair to get around, it does not slow her down. In addition to track and field, Kari enjoys swimming and wheelchair basketball. She also participates in several local 5K races.