I did something this weekend that I’ve never done before. My husband and I participated in a fun run for a friend of ours.

You may remember seeing the information for the Run for River in the community news section of our paper the last few weeks.

The Run for River 5K run/walk and fun run was held for River Thomas. River is the son of a precious friend of mine, April. River is a 3-year-old little boy who was diagnosed with spastic quadripelgia cerebral palsy at eight months old (as well as cortical vision impairment and periventricular luekomalacia). River can’t sit up, hold his head up on his own, crawl, walk or talk. He needs around-the-clock care as well as physical therapy, speech therapy, feeding therapy, occupational therapy and various daily medicines and equipment.

My girls absolutely love little River and although he can’t communicate very well, I’m pretty sure Anna (my 6-year-old) still thinks he understood every word she ever said to him.

If you’ve had a bad day, you should go on Facebook and pull up one of the many pictures of sweet River smiling from ear to ear.

So when our family heard about the Run for River, we wanted to make sure we would be there to support this sweet family and that amazing little boy.

I’ve never dealt with a special-needs child and I had never really been around someone who had the responsibility of taking care of such a child, but April does a wonderful job.

I’ve watched several times as she has stopped whatever she was doing to take care of River. She has cleaned up after him, held him, walked him and done everything for this child for three years now. When other children are able to walk and talk and start to take care of themselves, I’ve watched as April still lovingly does everything that River needs. She does all types of therapy with him, is at the doctor’s office probably more than she is at home and you never hear her complain.

She is one of those moms who puts other moms to shame. She has a daughter, Briley, who is around 6 years old and April is able to balance her care and love for River with her care and love for Briley. It’s truly amazing to watch someone be able to love and care for a special-needs child and still be able to balance the rest of her family. With the help of her husband, Matt, April is doing a great job of raising River.

But I just believe that God gave them a little extra blessing when my friend Christy stepped into their lives.

Christy is the lady who pretty much headed up the Run for River. She saw a need and wanted to help this family get the things that they truly need in order to raise River in the environment that he needs.

All of the proceeds for the Run for River will go toward helping the Thomas family build a new house to reach the needs of River’s physical capabilities.

A local homebuilder has offered to help build an accessible home for River and his family and this race helped to fund those efforts.

I guess I feel closer to River since I consider his family to be my friends, but when we see a true need in this world, it’s a good idea to try to reach that need and help those we have the power to help.

If you are interested in helping the Thomas family on their quest to purchase their new home, feel free to check them out at facebook.com/raisingriver. I can promise you that this family is as good as gold, and that they will use the funds that are raised for exactly what they are donated for.

Not only was this Walk for River a good excuse to see a lot of our friends, it was a little bit of exercise and it was surrounded with fun things for the kids. There was face painting, barbecue sandwiches, inflatable toys and plenty of room to run and play. Yes, I am still sporting my temporary tattoo that says “Raising River” on my left forearm. I find it to be a good reminder to pray for them and to spread the word about their family.

If you missed the walk, don’t worry, there are plenty of other opportunities to help this family and other families that may be experiencing the same types of difficulties. Branch out and see where you may be needed. Your time, prayers or money could be exactly what some other family is in need of.

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