'Extraordinary' Little Boy Finishes Triathlon with Disabled Brot - kcentv.com - KCEN HD - Waco, Temple, and Killeen

'Extraordinary' Little Boy Finishes Triathlon with Disabled Brother

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Photo Courtesy TODAY Photo Courtesy TODAY
Photo Courtesy TODAY Photo Courtesy TODAY
Photo Courtesy TODAY Photo Courtesy TODAY

 (TODAY) -- Never underestimate the power of brotherly love.

Eight-year-old Noah Aldrich didn’t want his 6-year-old sibling Lucas — who is confined to a wheelchair — to miss out on a youth triathlon this month, so he pulled and pushed his little brother the whole way as he swam, biked and ran in the sweltering heat.

His determination didn’t surprise his parents, who said the brothers are best friends.

“They definitely have a special bond, the two of them," dad Brian Aldrich told local NBC News affiliate KTVB in Boise, Idaho. “You see Lucas light up so much when Noah enters the room. It just brings a smile to your face when you see the love between the boys."

“I like everything about him, he's perfect," said Noah about Lucas. The boys watch cartoons together and go on walks and bike rides, with Noah pushing and pulling Lucas in a special buggy.

Lucas was born with lissencephaly, a rare brain malformation. Children with the disorder -- which literally means "smooth brain” — are missing the normal folds and wrinkles in the cerebral cortex, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Lissencephaly occurs in only one in 85,470 births and can result in seizures, difficulty swallowing and other serious health problems, according to The Cortical Foundation.

Doctors told Lucas’ parents that the boy would not talk or eat on his own, and he would spend his life in a wheelchair, but he’s doing much better than everyone expected, mom Alissa Aldrich said.

“He does everything with us, and we want him to experience everything in life,” she told KTVB. “He's been on a plane ride, a 4-wheeler ride, adaptive skiing, he got a Make-a-Wish trip of a lifetime, he got to go to Disney World.”

So when Noah heard about the local YMCA youth triathlon, he told his parents he wanted to take part and take Lucas along. He started training right away.

On July 12, Noah was nervous as the triathlon began. For the swimming portion, he had a tether around his chest that was attached to an inflatable raft that held Lucas. He swam 200 meters, then biked for three miles while pulling Lucas in a bike trailer, and finally ran one mile while pushing Lucas in the special buggy.

"It was really exciting to watch them and a little nerve-wracking as parents, but they did so good and we're proud of them," Alissa Aldrich told KTVB.

As Noah crossed the finish line to applause, the race announcer had just one word: “Extraordinary.” Noah's family thinks so, too.


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