Racing For Kids created the Courageous Kids Award in 2017 to honor young people who deal with serious medical conditions and challenges with inspirational strength, determination and determination. What was originally a one-day celebration turned into lifelong relationships for International Children’s Charity at Gross Pointe.
This year was no different, as three new outstanding kids from Courageous were honored at the 16th annual Racing For Kids to The Hill event. This year’s award winners were Jake Joeb and Claire Joeb of Gross Point and Phalan Baker of River Rouge.
Baker, 11, was born with cerebral palsy and was experiencing deterioration in function when her grandmother, Sandy Baker, took her to Children’s Hospital of Michigan in January. When she was accepted into an inpatient physical therapy program, Becker could not walk or take care of herself. After three months of intensive therapy, during which she gave her everything, she can now walk on a treadmill, and can now ride a special Rifton bike around her neighborhood. She also made excellent gains in speech and communication. Doctors and therapists at Children’s Hospital attribute her success to her absolute desire to improve and her unyielding courage in dealing with every problem she encounters.
Jake Joeb, 16, and his sister, Claire Joeb, 15, were diagnosed in 2016 with Friedrich Ataxia, a rare genetic disease. Their family notes that Jake has difficulty keeping his balance and often stumbles. After undergoing genetic testing, he was diagnosed and further tests revealed that Claire also had the condition, although her symptoms were less obvious.
Friedreich’s ataxia has no cure and no cure. Jake now uses a wheelchair full time, but has adapted to these big challenges with flexibility and a positive attitude. He is head of the junior class at University Liggett School, holding the school’s record and state champion in the 100m and 200m wheelchair track and field. He also loves to perform with Liggett Players in his school music.
Claire’s symptoms challenge her ability to run, jump and hike, but she is passionate about science and building her skills to help find a cure for FA. She recently completed a computational biology course with the University of Michigan which will allow her to assist researchers with statistical analyses. She also plays tennis and volleyball at Liggett, where she is COO of Liggett Players.
Jake and Claire Juip are committed to helping find a cure for FA and are active participants in clinical research, as well as compelling advocates for FA awareness.
“At Racing For Kids, we have been visiting amazing kids like our brave kids for 33 years,” said J. Patrick Wright, CEO of Racing For Kids. “Our concerns about ‘our children’ reflect the general concerns of child health in the Grosse Pointe community. This is why Brave Kids
Prizes are a popular part of Racing For Kids to The Hill events.
“It is an exceptionally rewarding advantage that the children we honored and their families became personal friends,” he added. “We stay in touch all year long. They were our guests at the Detroit Grand Prix and helped them find solutions to special needs that came up during the year. We are truly a racing family of brave little kids.”
Racing For Kids will make a $500 donation to the charity of each of Courageous Kids’ Choice, in the name of this year’s award winners. Previous winners who attended this year’s gala are Dylan Droyer, Riley Slaterly, Hudson Brown, Matthew Ninhos, Kenyon Sims and Peyton Shock.