A young woman named Kayleigh Williamson has achieved something incredible by becoming the first person with Down syndrome to complete the Austin Marathon, and she is inspiring others with her determination.
Although the endurance athlete has completed numerous half-marathons, there was a time when people dismissed her, KVUE reported Thursday.
“The moment she was born, I was told everything she couldn’t do,” her mother, Sandy, explained.
People with Down syndrome are born with an extra chromosome, and even though they may have similarities, each possesses different abilities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Years later, Kayleigh was diagnosed with several health conditions and she weighed 215 pounds, according to her mother. Therefore, she and Kayleigh decided to take control of their health through exercise and diet.
Thanks to hard work and determination, Kayleigh’s health improved dramatically, and in 2017, she was named the first person with Down syndrome to cross the finish line at Ascension Seton Austin Half Marathon.
This year, she made up her mind to finish the 26.2-mile event, and supported by family and friends, Kayleigh took off and finished in six hours, 43 minutes, and 51 seconds.
The Austin Marathon shared video footage of the moment an emotional and exhausted Kayleigh crossed the finish line and an orange ribbon with a huge medal was placed around her neck:
Social media users expressed their joy at her accomplishment, one person writing, “My heart is bursting with pride for you, Kayleigh!”
“Huge congratulations. What an achievement and what a smile,” another said.
Sandy was filled with pride and told Kayleigh she is now a marathoner.
“My child has a legacy,” Sandy noted, adding, “Every child has a legacy, but whether they get to live it or not, that’s what I see with Kayleigh and that’s what I see with this.”
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