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State Honoree

Photo of State Honoree Rachel Prior

Rachel Prior

Ohio

Rachel Prior, 12, of Tallmadge, Ohio, a sixth-grader at Tallmadge Middle School, organized a foot race to raise money and awareness for United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), in honor of a close friend who has the neurological disorder, and then competed in the Cleveland Triathlon with that friend and 24 other kids that she recruited for the competition. Her friend, Ethan, "cannot talk or walk on his own, but he is one of my best friends," said Rachel. "He is always happy even though he has to work very hard to do things that are simple for most people."

In 2010, Rachel joined Team Ethan, a running group formed by Ethan's parents to participate in fundraising events of UCP of Greater Cleveland. A few years later, she decided to create her own race so that she could help Team Ethan raise even more money to combat cerebral palsy. She and a few friends mapped out a race course, promoted the event with brochures and social media postings, persuaded local businesses to donate supplies and prizes, and supervised everything on race day. Over the past three years, Rachel's "Elm Trail Race" has had more than 700 participants and raised over $7,500. Last year, Rachel competed with Ethan as a "youth push team" in the Cleveland Triathlon along with 24 friends, raising $5,000 for UCP.