Once again Lawson Sizemore, 19, of Shorewood, proves he’s up to any challenge – even riding a Big Wheel around a racetrack.
Sizemore has Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type A, a disorder that affects the peripheral nerves.
He and rest of Team Lawson Sizemore took first place at the 2nd annual Great American Big Wheel Race on July 31, at Busey Bank Joliet Memorial Stadium.
The event was a fundraiser for United Cerebral Palsy-Center for Disability Services in Joliet and “something worth doing,” Sizemore said.
“UCP is a great organization that helps out a bunch of people with disabilities,” Sizemore said. “And they do a lot of great work in the community.”
Fourteen teams competed for first place and $5,000 for the charity of the winning team’s choice, according to UCP-CDS.
Team Lawson Sizemore also raised $1,000 in sponsors, Sizemore said. The $5,000 prize money went to Sizemore’s “Awesome Lawson” Lawson’s Van Campaign on GoFundMe, Sizemore said.
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Team captain was Jeff Peterson, who’s worked hard for several years to raise money for a modified van for Sizemore as have others in the Joliet community.
Peterson said in a news release from UCP-CDS, that coaches and athletes from Joliet West High School were part of Team Lawson Sizemore.
Sizemore graduated from Joliet West High and currently coaches football, basketball and baseball at the school. He also attends Joliet Junior College and plans to major in broadcast journalism after he graduates from JJC next summer, Sizemore said.
Peterson said that the team trained for the Great American Big Wheel Race on a track at Joliet West.
“We timed our riders to see who was the fastest on the turns and straight ways and placed each where we thought they’d do best,” Peterson said in the release.
Sizemore said that, during the race, each Big Wheel driver pedaled over part of the track and then another cyclist took over. Sizemore said the team completed “five or six” laps.
“I’m grateful we got a great team together and spent the time and effort to actually complete and to actually win,” Sizemore said. “It was close between us and the Wilmington Police Department.”
The team that represented the Wilmington Police Department came in second. Wilmington Police Officer Karl Jurgens said in the release, that the team’s prize money will benefit the Wilmington Police Department’s Benevolent Fund, which funds residents’ requests for assistance.
The Joliet Fire Department team, which took first place in 2021, placed third place.
Former Joliet Junior College culinary arts professor Fred Ferrara chaired the event. Ferrara founded the annual Great Chef’s Tasting Party and Auction, an annual fundraiser for UCP-CDS for more than two decades.
Other features of the 2nd annual Great American Big Wheel Race included food trucks, a beer tent, a kids’ race and a spectator race at the end of the event for people who brought their own Big Wheels for a “spin around the track,” the release said.
For more information about United Cerebral Palsy-Center for Disability Services, call 815-744-3500 or visit ucp-cds.org and “Awesome Lawson” Lawson’s Van Campaign on GoFundMe at gofund.me/4a20c8ac.