By Sylvia Small
This article’s focus isn’t on cerebral palsy. It’s a tale about the bond that ties three local brothers together. It’s also a story about hope, inspiration and a never-say-never attitude.
Kyle, Evan and Brent Pease competed May 1 in the St. Anthony’s Triathlon in St. Petersburg, Fla., using specialized equipment.
Kyle, 26, who has cerebral palsy, joined in the swimming and biking segments with his brother Brent, 28. They were joined by Evan, Kyle’s twin, in the running segment, and finished the competition.
The trio also completed the Georgia Publix Half Marathon in Atlanta in late March.
Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that usually affect the motor function of the person who has it. It’s not a progressive disease, meaning that the symptoms don’t get better or worse with time. Kyle’s cerebral palsy resulted in a lack of sensation and significantly decreased mobility in all of his limbs.
If you’ve shopped at the Peachtree Battle Publix Store or visited Piedmont Hospital, you’ve probably been greeted by Kyle, who is also a motivational speaker. Evan and Brent work with Scoutmob and in the property management field respectively.
“I think the Ironman Triathlon I completed last fall really started this,” Brent said. “Kyle asked whether he could participate in one.”
An Ironman Triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike race and a 26.2-mile run, raced in that order and without a break. Most Ironman events have a strict time limit of 17 hours to complete the race.
“I asked all these questions about what your body goes through before, during and after a race,” Kyle said. “I was half-way joking at the time. But it started to plant a seed in everybody’s head.”
“Brent is getting married, and our lives are changing,” Evan said. “Since we’re super close, it really boils down to our spending time together.”
“We thought if we don’t do it now, then we’ll never do it,” said Brent.
According to the Peases, they chose the St. Anthony’s Triathlon because the race officials were accommodating and the course is flat, making it less difficult for them to compete.
Lisa Witzlib, owner of Buckhead-based Witzlib Fitness Studio, assisted Brent with his training. “Since I’ve done an Ironman, I understand the magnitude of the training, the preparation and the toll it takes on your body. Brent and I connected on that level. Helping the Peases get through their journey is a great cause,” Lisa said.
The brothers agree that training for the races brought them even closer together.
“We’ve always known that we’re really close friends and get along well together,” said Brent. “It was evident growing up that there were differences. But our parents, Richard and Janis, always made sure that we were all included. Sports have been big in the Pease house for a long time. First it was baseball. Now it’s marathons and triathlons.”
Participating in the Publix Half Marathon, Brent said, taught them two things. The first is to arrive early.
“We also learned that it’s difficult to do a race by yourself, but it’s even more difficult to do one in unison. We had to learn to work together and to think about Kyle’s needs. His body goes through the same type of stress as Evan and I experience in a race,” he explained.
Brent continued, “Kyle never wants it to be about him. Everybody who ran by us at the first race had something positive to say. He was usually the first one of us to respond. When someone wished us a good race, he said, ‘You too!’ He wants to live a normal life like the rest of us. That’s why we’re going out and racing. That’s what Kyle wants to do.”
Kyle said participating in the first race was “awesome.” “My training is a lot different,” he said. “I stretch every night, get my muscles in weird positions they’re not used to, and get my heart rate up. I can’t really put it into words. I’ve always wanted to feel like an athlete, and now I do.”
“Trust is a big component of my life,” Kyle added. “Not only with my brothers, but also with the people who take care of me. What motivates me is my brothers, my family and the drive within me to lead a regular life.”
Looking back on the experience, would he still do this?
Kyle replied quickly, “Without a doubt! It’s been the best months of my life.”
Kyle said he believes that having cerebral palsy “has no boundaries.”
“It’s all within you,” he said. “You can sit and feel sorry for yourself, which sometimes I do. But it’s really all about how you look at your day. How can you overcome your obstacles? Living in a wheelchair is never easy, but no one said life is easy. Where there’s a wheel, there’s a way.”