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Beyond the Game: Wheelchair marathoner inspires his own family

Kurt Blankenship with his family (KATV Photo)

A Little Rock man's resilience inspired his entire family.

Kurt Blankenship was paralyzed from the waist down when he was 18 after a near-fatal car crash. He won the Little Rock Marathon's wheelchair division in 2015 and won the men's push rim wheelchair division of the Star Wars Half Marathon at Disney World last weekend. His time was 1:27:46.

Just as Kurt has overcome obstacles, so too have his adopted children.

Daughters Ella and Olivia were born premature, while son Ryan has spina bifida. Doctors thought he would never be able to walk or talk.

All three kids participated in the runDisney 200-meter kids race. It is a tremendous triumph, particularly for Ryan.

"I think our family is about learning to fly," said Carrie Blankenship, Kurt's wife. "All three kids, when they came to us, the odds were against them. They just needed someone to teach them that you do have wings and you can fly. The best person to do that would be their daddy.

"The branch will break and bad things will happen but that's OK because you didn't trust the branch. You trusted your wings."

The entire Blankenship family has overcome their obstacles together.

"I joke with Ryan all the time, that one day he's going to be in a racing wheelchair right beside me and I'm going to be doing everything I can to keep up with him and he's going to blow past me," Kurt said.

"I look forward to that day and today was just a glimpse of that."


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