For most third graders running a 5K is a feat in itself.
Nine-year-old Wang-Jiang says “I think it’s going to be easy.”
But for those like Wang-Jian it’s a walk in the park compared to what he’s gone through.
“It’s probably going to be really fun.”
Wang-Jian was born with only a fifth of his right foot, but that’s never slowed him down.
His mom Donna Nichols says “He’s very tenacious. Last summer he tried to do soccer with a British soccer camp. His shoe would always fall off.”
Nichols adopted him from china when he was five years old.
She says, “It’s very likely that he wound up in the orphanage because of his congenital disability. In China they don’t have the resources and disability is still viewed a little bit differently.”
Wang-Jian is hoping to change those attitudes here in America. Just about four weeks ago he had his right foot amputated and now uses a prosthetic.
“As soon as Wang-Jian could speak English he was asking us to amputate that foot and we would say, you know, well that’s not like a haircut.”
And now he’s walking with purpose.
Wang-Jian says”I’m fundraising so I can build a sidewalk for kids with wheelchairs.”
Nichols says, “He said yeah but remember when I was in a wheelchair I couldn’t get out to the playground, It’s not accessible. He said ‘I’m lucky because I’m not going to be in a wheel chair but there’s other kids that come to school that are always going to be in a wheelchair, so I want to do this 5k.'”
Wang-Jian’s teacher and friends are behind him each step of the way.
His friend Chase Harrison says, “He knows like it hurts him and stuff but he still tries.”
Wang-Jian’s teacher Trina Moore says “He’s just such an inspiration to everybody here at this school. He’s been through so much and a lot of it was pretty painful. But he would come to school and he have a smile on his face everyday.”
And at the finish line Wang-Jian says it was all worth it
“I feel proud,” he says.
Wang-Jian and his mom plan to ask school administrators soon to consider those with disabilities when using that money for new playground equipment, possibly changing out the mulch to a flatter surface so those with wheelchairs can get around.