Born to Run

September 03, 2013 by Elena Noble, MPT

A young girl with cerebral palsy is guided by her two teams in a gait trainer as she runs the straightaway of an outdoor trackAt an early age Meg Moore began attending her older brothers' cross-country meets and decided that she wanted to run also. Although Meg was born with cerebral palsy, the additional challenges from the condition did not dampen her spirits in the pursuit of her athletic goals. Today, Meg is a member of the Pomperaug High School track and cross country teams in Southbury, Connecticut.

"I was in sixth grade when I actually started running competitively, but I had decided to do so years before when my brothers joined the school's cross-country team," says Meg with the aid of her voice box. "Of course my family supported my decision; they have supported my dreams my entire life."

Unable to stand or walk independently, Meg used the Rifton Pacer gait trainer to gain her footing. Anne remembers the first time her then five-year-old daughter ran in a Pacer gait trainer. “It was exciting. She just took off. The look on her face was priceless. Even today, whenever she gets in the Pacer, she lights up. It's like freedom.”

Meg has grown tremendously as a runner. “When I started cross country, I could only run 300 yards, 400 yards on a good day, and that was a stretch," recalls Meg. "With years of building up strength and endurance, I can now run 6,336 yards – which is pretty amazing.” While running, Meg does all the work, but her teammates help guide the Pacer. A local TV station recorded her performance on the track and the remarkable story developing at her high school.

Meg has been an inspiration to many, including her teammates and other young adults with cerebral palsy. She tackles the different courses with enthusiasm and shows that nothing is impossible if you try. "She's phenomenal," says her teammate Patrick Sullivan. Her physical therapist, Patricia Fusco agrees: “Meg is very determined. She wants to do a lot, do better, and really pushes herself. I think she's been able to achieve as much as she has because of that determination."

And now her brother Sean is inspired to work towards a career in physical therapy to help his sister Meg and others like her achieve their highest functional potentials.

"This is what Meg was born to do," says her mother. "Meg was born with cerebral palsy for a reason. She’s going to make her mark in the world and help other people through it." Meg has certainly made her mark on Rifton.

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