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Brooks Rehabilitation training athletes of all abilities to dominate the DONNA Marathon

"If I can do it, anyone can do it,” said Elizabeth Caruso, who has a visual impairment.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Thousands of athletes have been training for months for the DONNA Marathon, including participants with disabilities from Brooks Rehabilitation Center.

"If I can do it, anyone can do it,” said Elizabeth Caruso, who has a visual impairment.

Caruso plans to finish her first marathon on a tandem bike with her partner.

Continually, Caruso finds her bike, straps in and is ready for another day of training alongside dozens of her peers.

The fleet of cyclists training for the DONNA range from those with visual impairments to people who are paralyzed—all who are incredibly strong.

“I don’t get intimidated,” Caruso said.

Regardless of Caruso’s training, she still needed a set of eyes on the road.

“I have the eyes, she has the legs,” her partner Carl said. “I’m just going to sit here, she’s going to pedal and push me.”

“I trust him with anything,” Caruso added. “I trust him with my life to be exact.”

Caruso is an example of how the power of adaptation can be life-changing—thanks to Brooks Rehabilitation.

Caruso isn’t the only success story—Brooks has a fleet of cyclists of all types of disabilities conquering the marathon.

“So many times after a traumatic accident, you have that checked-out look—that thousand-yard stare,” said Scott Brown from Brooks Rehabilitation. “But they keep coming back and they get stronger and healthier. You can see that spark back in their eye again and you know they’re going to be okay.”

Brown uses a wheelchair himself after a severe car accident. He said he used to have that "thousand-yard" stare, but thanks to the people in his life and activities like those that Brooks offers, he is back to a full and happy life.

“Doing a marathon is a milestone,” Brown said. “So, so many people say ‘there’s no way I can do that.’ But there are adaptations. If it can be done, we will do it.”

Brooks makes it happen because they see that something as simple as the DONNA Marathon can be life-changing.

“A lot of people with disabilities are concerned about what they can’t do,” said Ann Popick, a program specialist at Brooks. “This shows them what they can do, and it shows in their daily lives.”

“Don’t think you can’t do it,” Caruso added. “You can do anything you put your mind to.”

If you’d like to participate or volunteer in the many adapted sports brooks has to offer, you can find those resources here.

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