Dublin Villager

Columbus Marathon Patient Champion

Dublin 8-year-old's goal is inspiring for runners

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Running will be part of Emma Dickman's quest to walk.

The Dublin 8-year-old underwent surgery last year to walk after being diagnosed with cerebral palsy as an infant and spending much of her life in a wheelchair.

More recently however, Emma has spent more time in her walker and on crutches and is in the running to be on the cover of Runner's World magazine and will be part of the Columbus Marathon.

"I just found it on social media," Emma's father Steve Dickman said of the Runner's World contest.

"Aug. 15 is the deadline when it's over. I thought I'd give it a shot."

Dickman, an intervention specialist at Jerome High School, said the effort to be on the cover of Runner's World is all about bringing more attention to the Oct. 19 Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon.

"We've been trying to find the best ways to publicize the marathon," he said.

"It's a big motivation to keep an eye on Emma and what she's been through."

Dickman ran the Columbus Marathon for the first time last year and Emma crossed the finish line with him using her walker.

For the 2014 Columbus Marathon, Emma has been named a Patient Champion and plans to again cross the finish line with her father.

"Emma will get a chance to finish the race with us again, which is my biggest motivator really," Dickman said, adding that 12 runners have so far been recruited for Emma's Dream Team.

"It's just one of those things she knows she wants and she's working for it."

Emma has been working hard since her surgery last summer and is currently undergoing physical therapy three times a week at two hour shots.

"She's doing really, really well," Dickman said.

"She's walking better on crutches and doing well on her walker," he said.

"She's really flying on her walker and has much more range of movement.

"She can sit on the carpet now and play with her brother. It's nice to see."

In fact, seeing Emma's determination to walk got her father running.

"If I'm asking Emma to do all that therapy I need to be able to do the same," Steve said.

"I can be a good role model and Emma's been a great role model for me."

Along with getting Emma walking, spreading the word about Nationwide Children's Hospital is a goal for the Dickman family, including mother Amanda Dickman, a teacher at Karrer Middle School.

"The hospital has everything you need," Mr. Dickman said.

"We need a hospital all the kids can turn to. ... It's going to be exciting when we get to her mile (at the marathon)."

Votes to get the Dickmans on the cover of Runner's World magazine can be cast online at http://covercontest.runnersworld.com/entry/1436/.

Dickman encouraged both runners and nonrunners to be part of the Columbus Marathon.

"Please support us and help us out," he said. "Come on out to the marathon.

"It's a cool thing to see and watch and be part of. You can stop by the tents and meet the kids. That's the big thing that inspires everyone."

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