Sami is 22 years old. Nonverbal and developmentally delayed, she lives with her family in Westport.
Her mom, Lori Leskin, heard about myTeamTriumph. That’s the program for children, teens, adults and veterans with disabilities who otherwise could not participate in endurance events like triathlons and road races. Volunteers “ride along,” helping them compete in — and enjoy — those endeavors.
Last May, “06880” featured MTT in a story on STAR’s 5K Walk, Run & Stroll at Sherwood Island.
Lori wasn’t sure if Sami would like being in a race. But she gave it a try.
From the first moment, Sami loved it. She now gets very excited when she arrives at an event, and sees MTT’s red tents and racing chairs.
“She loves hearing her name yelled out when she’s on the course, and then coming across the finish line,” notes Curtis Lueker, a Westporter and myTeamTriumph’s Connecticut chapter founder.
“She loves feeling included in the community. That’s what MTT is all about.”
Recently, Sami competed in the Westport Tri — her first triathlon. MyTeamTriumph pulled her in an inflatable boat, then pulled and pushed her through the bike/run.
“It was an amazing day,” Curtis says. The highlight came when the team pushed her chair through the Compo Beach sand, crossing the finish line together.
Sami has become a celebrity around town. People know — and admire — her accomplishments, thanks in part to Facebook.
It’s a win-win-win: for Sami, her MTT team, and everyone cheering any race.
(To learn more about myTeamTriumph — including how to volunteer — click here.)