SILVER CREEK - All participants were able to join in the Laurel Run for the 16th year on Saturday morning.
There were 8-kilometer and 5-kilometer runs and a 1-kilometer walk available to younger children and Laurel's Lap, which is for anyone with a disability.
"I placed first in the 8-kilometer," Adam Prentice stated. "It's something fun to do, and it helps me keep in shape."
The highlight of the run was Laurel's Lap, which took place after the other races.
Laurel Run was created by Wayne and Elaine Hotelling in honor of their oldest daughter, who has Down syndrome.
Laurel Run is intended to raise awareness about the potential that exists within everyone who has a disability and to celebrate the achievements of individuals with disabilities.
Proceeds from Laurel Run go to TRC Foundation to support disability awareness and prevention efforts in Chautauqua County.
Money raised through Laurel Run also is used to enhance employment and work training opportunities for adults with disabilities, like Laurel.
The event became so popular that since 2001, a relay run from Jamestown to Dunkirk was added to the Friday before Laurel's Run.
Laurel grew up with three other siblings and her parents, Elaine and Wayne, treated Laurel like everyone else. She was able to make friends with other children, and even learned piano and dance. She currently works at the Resource Center's Dunkirk Work Center.
"The resource center funds it, and they service anyone with a disability or handicap," Elaine said.
The TRC's Dunkirk Work Center, along with hundreds of other individuals who support them, works very hard every year on Laurel's Run.
"They feel accomplished and like they are really doing something good," Shaqua McCullum said.
This event was created to not only show all of Laurel's hard work and achievements, but also to give others with disabilities courage and motivation. Laurel's Lap goes one lap around the track at the village ballfield and is a great way for others like Laurel to work together and have the strength to cross the finish line together.
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