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Katarina Frazier competes in New York City Marathon for the charity “Extreme Kids and Crew”

Springfield College's Katarina Frazier competes in New York City Marathon for a NYC based charity "Extreme Kids and Crew." By Joe Arruda
Joe Arruda She stood amongst 52,000 runners. Within that crowd, hundreds of cultures were represented. Each had a different reason for running, but they all had the same goal: to finish the race. The streets of New York City were packed with fans from all walks of life, as they cheered for each individual runner that passed by in the New York City Marathon. On Sunday, November 4, Springfield College student Katarina Frazier was one of those runners. She ran for “Extreme Kids and Crew,” a New York City based charity, with a vision of creating welcoming spaces where those with disabilities don’t feel isolated or disrespected. “You do fundraising in preparation for the marathon. Any fundraising that I did went straight to the charity, and basically what they did for me was a guaranteed entry,” said Frazier. “I was running it for them as disability awareness.” Though the physical running portion does not directly help the children, it is vital in spreading awareness about disabilities. Frazier believes that it is important for people to understand the social issues surrounding disabilities, especially considering that so many people are impacted by them. She wore a blue jersey which had her name on the front underscored by the bright orange and blue words of “Team Extreme.” Though she was among tens of thousands of other runners, her cause was not lost in the crowd. “People knew I was running for them,” she said. The Physical Therapy major was first introduced to the charity after working with a young girl, who has been battling disabilities since birth. “She just turned 15. She wasn’t supposed to live past 1,” Frazier added. “We’re in a really good situation where she gets all the help that she needs. She can go to camp with all the kids and do everything that they do.” Extreme Kids and Crew provides opportunities for the inclusion that disabled kids are often neglected of. The organization believes that no one is exempt from their natural rights, and everyone is entitled to living a life without restraint. “It supports the family, so parents can focus on what’s important, and it also supports the kid, in the way that they have a community, they can participate in different activities, and they are getting the learning and the help that they need,” Frazier said of the charity. In New York especially, disabled children and their families are faced with financial burdens accompanying their physical challenges. “When you don’t have as much income, like these kids in New York, you can’t [do what other kids do],” Frazier said. “There’s a lot of social problems with them. They can’t socialize with kids like other kids do, they can’t be a part of the community like other kids are.” The 2018 New York City Marathon broke the record for most finishers of any marathon world-wide with 52,812. Previously, the record was 51,394 finishers in the 2016 N.Y.C. Marathon. Frazier and the rest of Team Extreme were able to spread disability awareness on one of the world’s largest stages, as the marathon was watched by over 1 million spectators. “From every walk of life, there was someone there. It was really cool,” Frazier said. “They were all really positive, and with everything that’s been going on in the world, it was so nice to see so many different types of people being positive over one thing. That was really incredible.” Photo courtesy of Katarina Frazier

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