Local twin boys with muscular dystrophy kept out of Cazenovia race because of 'safety concerns'

Jack and Nolan Willis with the 2 Smiles Team

Twin brothers Jack and Nolan Willis have run a water stand at the Cazenovia July 4th race in the past, they have Duchene Muscular Dystrophy, and while they couldn't run, the race was important to them.

"Their arms are too weak now to hold the cups of water and I didn't want them on the side of the road, just watching something they couldn't do,â?? says Alison Dwyer Willis, the twinsâ?? mom.

Over the past year, a team of experienced runners ran with the twins in racing buggies for a triathlon and a half marathon, but when the team leader asked the Syracuse Chargers Track Club for permission to join the Cazenovia race, they were turned down. The board cited safety concerns. Kristen Roe has run with the twins before, she is disappointed that the race organizers would not even consider an adjusted route or other options that would allow the twins to experience the race.

"To me it seems like there could have been a compromise of some sort. Or maybe they would say, â??the ten miler might make us a little nervous having you out there but you could do the 5k,â?? or work with us," Roe says.

Syracuse Chargers president Dave Oja did not return a message we left for him.

Supporters of the twins say the town of Cazenovia has supported them in letting the twins race, and they believe the Syracuse Chargers may not have had all the information when they blocked the boys from joining. The twinsâ?? mom says she hopes other races will learn about the racing buggies, and how they can allow more people with disabilities to be included.

"My kids just want to race. They love it and I want to see them participate."

Jack and Nolanâ??s mom is still hopeful that the twins can participate in the July 4th race, or at least race organizers will work with them for next year.

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