Knoxville girl with spina bifida runs 5K


KNOXVILLE (WATE) – While others are deciding if they can or can’t do something, Clementine White, 8, doesn’t see an option.

“I didn’t really think I could do that, but now I can. Now I know I can,” said Clementine.

She only sees what she wants to see: hope.

“If it seems that you can’t do something, you can at least try,” she said.

Clementine was born with spina bifida, which is a condition that affects her ability to move.

“She has done physical therapy her entire life and she was maybe three months old and I asked her physical therapist, ‘What’s this going to be like?”‘ said Christy White, Clementine’s mother. “And she told me she’ll probably be in a wheelchair so I just decided I wasn’t going to ask again.“

At the beginning of the school year, Clementine came home with a form for her parents to sign. It was a registration form for Girls on the Run, a running club at her school.

“This is I think the first time she’s brought something like this home and the initial reaction was kind of like, ‘ugh,’ because you hate to have your kids fail at something that they’re interested in,” said Clementine’s father, Brandon White. “That was my first thought.This is going to be something that is just too difficult.”

Her mother reacted similarly.

“My immediate reaction was if I just stick this paper over here she would forget about it, but she didn’t forget about it,” said Christy White.

Clementine wanted to run.

“I’m going to be running a 5K,” she said.

She surprised everyone but herself.

“My doctors said it wouldn’t be possible for me to walk or run,” said Clementine. “But then I’m starting to walk and I’m starting to run.”

They told her she couldn’t walk, so instead, she ran.

“She has a ferocious can-do spirit and as her mom I need a little kick in the pants, I need a little tenacious can-do spirit. For somebody to not let me forget that, you said you were going to let me do Girls on the Run,” said Christy White.

Her spirit is inspiring.

“She just blows my mind with the things she was willing to do and the things that like she just lets roll off her back,” said Christy White. “She does catch social heat for being slow and walking funny. As her mom, I’m like, ‘Let me nurture you.’ And she has done so much more nurturing for me I think than I her, and the way that she just moves forward one step at a time.”

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