When the NYC marathoners crossed the finish line recently, 48-year old Jimmy Jenson from Los Angeles was among them. It took him just over 8 hours to complete the race, but despite coming in many hours after most other runners, he made history. Jimmy was the first person with Down syndrome to complete the race. For some heartwarming inspiration, you can read a story and view a short video clip that tells more about his victory (Alert: you’ll probably get an ad first).
Jimmy was accompanied on his run by Jennifer Davis, a friend who he met more than a decade ago through a terrific nonprofit organization called Best Buddies, which is a global volunteer movement that fosters one-to-one friendships between people who have intellectual disabilities with people who do not. This friendship offers rich benefits for both parties. In this case, Jimmy had a dream and vision of being a runner and he inspired Jennifer, who had not previously been a runner either – so the marathon was a shared victory. Jimmy lost 69 pounds and gained confidence over these years of running. In another article about the win, Jennifer talks about this and how it has affected her:
“I was able to help Jimmy become more active, get in the community, lose weight, and tie his shoes,” Davis said in a press release. “But he taught me about enjoying life, dancing and singing like no one is watching, and that a hug and a hot cocoa can solve almost anything.”