Falmouth Road Race “Team Latham” Runner Shares Heartfelt “Why I Run”

Latham Centers, a leader in special education and residential treatment for children and adults with developmental disabilities, has been selected to participate in the Falmouth Road Race Numbers for Nonprofits Program. Since 1970, Latham has been working together with its students, residents, their families, and outstanding professionals to bring hope and change to young people and adults who face very difficult challenges. Latham is the only specialized resource for Prader-Willi syndrome on the east coast serving both children and adults.

Eleven “Team Latham” Falmouth Road Race runners have signed on for the seven-mile seaside road race in August to raise funds for Latham Centers. Latham gratefully shares Why I Run– the words of Latham parent Steve Bebrin. Steve’s son, Michael, is a graduate of Latham School (in Brewster) and current resident in Latham Centers’ Adult Services program.

“When Michael was little, he looked like an angel – one of those little cherubs with the curly blonde hair and big blue eyes. His laughter was infectious, he had a pitch-perfect sense of humor, and he charmed absolutely everyone he met (and still does). And he really was a little angel – just one who needed a lot more support than the average kid. He sunburnt like crazy so at the beach, he’d be bundled up like a terry-cloth mummy. He collected all of our shoelaces and amassed them into one giant, impenetrable knot. Wearing his headphones, he’d ‘play’ our old acoustic guitar and sing along, in total bliss. Once he tried to smuggle the cat to school for Show & Tell in his backpack.

He was a great kid (and is an amazing adult!), but managing him was hard, too. We graduated from a baby gate to locks on the fridge and pantry to keep him from stealing food at night (when he did get caught, he’d blame the cat – classic Michael). He can’t feel pain very well, so one BBQ ended with a trip to the emergency room after Michael accidentally burned his hand on the grill. The anxiety over food and his schedule was constant and crippling. Meltdowns in public and at home were par for the course and, as he got older, it became clear that as much as we were doing as a family, we wouldn’t be able to provide the level of support he needed to live successfully day to day.

When we finally found Latham Centers in 2009, it felt like a miracle for our angel kid. A food-secure campus and a rigorously upheld schedule meant that Michael could be more than his anxiety. With the support and guidance of Latham’s dedicated, exemplary staff members, he could do activities and trips into the community, form friendships and let his wonderful personality shine.

Now, nearly 10 years later, he has blossomed into a charismatic, absurdly well-known adult who bowls like a champ, delivers Meals on Wheels, and works with the donkeys. Tall, blonde, personable – our angel is all grown up and, thanks to Latham Centers, spreading his love and joy all around Cape Cod.

Thank you for supporting my running of the Falmouth Road Race for this amazing organization, Latham Centers. It is so much appreciated!”

This year marks Steve’s sixth time running in the Falmouth Road Race as a member of Team Latham. The road race kicks off at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 19. To donate, please visit Steve’s fundraising page, here.

To learn more about Prader-Willi syndrome, visit www.lathamcenters.org/who-we-are/prader-willi-syndrome-expertise/.

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About Ann Luongo

Ann Luongo is the Marketing Writer and Lifestyle Reporter for CapeCod.com, and has been writing for Cape Cod and South Shore publications for over 15 years.

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