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Learn About "Ainsley's Angels" Inclusive Fitness Mission With Hailey Reeves

From episode: Hailey Reeves: Inspiring Inclusivity in Endurance Events with Ainsley's Angels

So today we are talking to Haley Reeves. She is an ambassador for Ainsley's Angels. Let's learn all about what Ainsley's Angels is and how you might be able to get involved. Welcome to the show, Haley. Hi, Carla. Thank you so much for having me today. It's great to have you here. My name is Haley. I'm one of the co -ambassadors for Ainsley's Angels in Madison, Wisconsin. Yeah, so I don't know if you picked up on me. That's a mouthful for me to say Ainsley's Angels. That is so tough. Tell me about the name, first of all. Yeah, of course. So Ainsley's Angels actually originated quite a few years ago with a family based out of Louisiana. They had a daughter named Ainsley, which is who the organization is named after. And in 2003, she was diagnosed with INED, which is Infantile Neuroaxion Dystrophy. So it's a condition that made her unable to partake in a lot of activities. And the father, Kim Rooster, he always had a passion for running and he found a way to make her included and to get her involved with the family. And so they got this adapted wheelchair and it allowed them to run together and it brought so much joy to Ainsley to be able to partake in these runs with her dad. And over time, it developed that other people in the area also found interest in this. Other people with different disabilities that prevented them to being able to run themselves. And so Kim connected them with how he got these wheelchairs and it kind of grew from there. So Ainsley, who the organization is named after, sadly passed away in 2016, but they continued on this organization and her namesake. So it has grown across 30 states to 70 different locations, one of them being in Madison, which is where I am. Wow, that is really interesting. I was going to ask you if there were other states, because how I got involved was I saw my friends pushing for a different organization. I'm like, I want to try that. So I looked up, I don't know what I think, I just put in wheelchair push assist or something, and this popped up and I got in contact with you. And so now I'm able to go and help push these athletes for these races. How did you get involved with it? Yeah, I am so glad that you joined the organization and that's how we were able to meet. I'm sure you can speak on it too, but it's just a totally different aspect of running compared to other races getting to help include other individuals that otherwise wouldn't be able to be part of race day. I myself got involved in it while I was in college at UW Madison. I was involved with this adaptive fitness program and then through that I got to partake in a lot of different adaptive recreation and Riley, the founding ambassador of Ansley's Angels in Madison, who is actually the sister of Ansley herself. She came in to speak to our organization like a couple of times and one of my friends who was more involved in it, he told me one time last minute they were short a runner for this race and I honestly never really considered myself a runner before that, but I was like, you know what, this seems like a good experience for me. It'll challenge me to push someone, but it seems something good to be involved in. So I went to this race and I fell in love with it. I got a good connection with some of the riders that partake in the races and some of the other runners. And so then I just kept continuing to partake in races. Our old ambassador moved away just a couple of months ago and so to keep this inclusivity alive in Madison, we didn't want the program to die out. So I chose to take over the ambassadorship and I'm very glad that I did. It's an amazing opportunity.

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