Saturday morning before the race she had another chemo session and twice during the race, she had to stop and be carried to a waiting van where her mother – a nurse – did a medical procedure so she could continue. A paramedic then checked her vital signs and she returned to the competition.
Her story has become well-known after her saga was recounted twice by the Dayton Daily News in the past week.
“As she came through Fairborn, the crowd lining the street began to chant ‘Caleigh! Caleigh! Caleigh!’” said her mom, “And she managed to stick her arm out of the Burley and wave like she was the Queen of England.”
The race was especially emotional for her dad, who is retired from the U.S. Air Force and works as a government civilian employee at Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
“Randy wouldn’t let anybody else touch the handle of that Burley,” Bonnie said. “He wanted to push her the whole way. He was really emotional.”
Saturday night as the family celebrated, Bonnie said Caleigh was proudly wearing the medal around her neck.
“She’s almost back to her old self tonight,” Bonnie said. “This race was great for her spirits. It was great for all of us.”