Herald Photo / File
ANGELS  — Kristy High (left) and Sarah DeBard (right) pose with their Ainsley’s Angel rider during the Rudolph Run.
Herald Photo / File ANGELS — Kristy High (left) and Sarah DeBard (right) pose with their Ainsley’s Angel rider during the Rudolph Run.
Ainsley’s Angels of Indiana is taking the charge to ensure those with special needs have the chance to compete with the rest. 

Most recently, Kokomo was represented in the Rudolph Run, and, coming up, the City of Firsts will be represented at the Indianapolis Mini Marathon on May 6.

“We became a part of the community as an ambassador in September. Since then, we have been able to participate in the Rudolph Run. Each month we recruit new members for our Angel Team, which consists of our athlete riders, who are the individuals with disabilities of all ages,” said Kristy High, Indiana ambassador. 

The Angel Team for each high-endurance event consists of one athlete rider, one to four athlete runners, and a Guardian Angel. Together, the team accounts for the same vision: to safely accomplish the mission while staying together and having fun. 

“When you are a person with a condition or a disability, many times you are excluded from activities. People don’t naturally think of ways to involve you because they don’t have your disability. When they are able to participate in these events they gain a sense of pride in their accomplishments because they’ve completed a 5K or a half marathon or even in some cases a marathon,” said High. 

The organization has been able to expand, and Ainsley’s Angels currently is established in 26 states. Its overall goal is to serve as advocates to provide education and participate as active members in local communities where everyone should be included. 

Since its establishment in Kokomo, the group has been able to reach out to several riders so far. Currently, Kendall Jade High and her athlete runner are working toward competing in the Indianapolis Mini Marathon.

“One of our athlete runners had a personal goal of completing the Mini Marathon with one of our angel riders. He found a runner who had a similar goal. They have been practicing, and they recently completed their 10-mile practice run for the mini,” said High. 

Kendall’s disability affects her speech, and she is nonverbal. Despite her lack of verbal communication, what she does say is infectious. 

“One of the reasons they run is because the athlete rider enjoys it so much. Even though Kendall is nonverbal it doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a lot to say. Her smile and laugh say a lot. During their 10-mile warm up, she was actually able to place first in her age division, which she was just ecstatic about,” said High. 

The angel team will compete in the Mini Marathon come May 6. The next opportunity to team up with the Ainsley’s Angels will come June 3 from 8 to 9 a.m. at the Gene Parks Memorial 5K in Russiaville. 

To become an athlete rider, athlete runner, or guardian angel, contact High via email at, NorthCentralIndiana@ainsleysangels.org.