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Face of the Race: Running with Noah

CHAMPAIGN -- One group is helping more people because of the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon. The Developmental Services Center got the largest single-donation after last year's race.
CHAMPAIGN -- One group is helping more people because of the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon. The Developmental Services Center got the largest single-donation after last year's race. WCIA-3's Cynthia Bruno finds out how the money is helping people live more "normal" lives.

The Lukach family is once again taking on the challenge of running this year's 5K while pushing Noah.

"It's awesome. Anytime he's out there and people are screaming Noah's name, he has the biggest smile on his face. He's so happy. He'll just throw his arms up in the air. He'll scream and yell and cheer with them. It gives us the motivation to keep going and to finish strong and just to know that he is enjoying it and people are enjoying seeing him out there as well, is such a cool experience."

Crossing the finish line is a small challenge compared to what they've already overcome. Noah was born with a neuromuscular disease. The family spent years seeing specialists and went years without answers. They still don't know what he has, but they know they have to make the most of the time they have with him.

"Growing up, being that he's disabled, we didn't always have the same interests, the same things that we can do together. And finding an activity that we can do together is wonderful and it gives us something that we can train for together and we can participate in and set new goals together and it's just an awesome experience to be part of that with him."

In this family's quest for normalcy, they found the Developmental Services Center. It's a place which provides services for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. It's where Noah spends his days.

"Where does Noah go during the day? He can't go to college. He's not going to have a job full-time and what a wonderful place to have him go during the day and be able to socialize with friends his age and older."

Thanks to a $20,000 from the marathon, more people like Noah can get help at DSC. Janice McAteer is the director of development there. She says this gift is going a long way.

"Services are very, very expensive and, in an agency like ours where the vast majority of people don't pay for services, all that money really helps us make a substantial difference for the people that come to us who need help."

His family knows how much that help can mean.

"I think Noah would say disabilities can't stop you. They can slow you down a little bit, but look what I can do with support."

So, while the Lukach family takes on yet another challenge, Noah makes sure he reminds them that victory isn't just about crossing the finish line.

"Here we go, Noah. You going to smile? Got a big smile on your face? There you go! Good job!"

In the past three years, the marathon has pumped more than $400,00 into the community.
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