Brady Murray’s world changed forever in 2007 the day his oldest son was placed in his arms. Minutes after his son, Nash, was born it was determined the infant had Down syndrome.
“It was a little scary at first, but what we found is that Nash is actually an incredible blessing for us and one we wouldn’t trade for the world,” Murray said. “As I got closer to my son over the years, Down syndrome just really became a part of my life and something that I really loved and appreciated.”
Murray’s family quickly got involved with the Down syndrome community. It was there he learned that many children with Down syndrome outside of the United States are abandoned and sent to orphanages after being born. “That’s where they stay for the first five years of their life. Then at that point in time, they are typically transferred to an adult mental institution where they stay for the remainder of their lives.”
Murray also discovered that the biggest thing getting in the way of giving these children a loving home is the cost of an international adoption, which on average costs $30,000 to $40,000. “The reality is there are actually a lot of families here in the U.S. who want to specifically adopt a kid who has Down syndrome. The challenge is they simply don’t have the funding,” he explained.
So the Cache Valley native and USU graduate decided to take action. After he and his wife started earning money for the adoption of one child, he took it to a whole wider platform. Murray, an avid runner, had thought about doing a full Iron Man for years but didn’t have the gumption to push forward with it.
“Then I thought, you know, I may not be able to do one of these Iron Mans for myself, but I definitely could do one for these children. That’s immediately when I signed up and decided to raise some awareness through a full Iron Man.”
Murray soon recruited others to join him in racing in order to raise money and awareness for the cause. This is how RODS (Racing for Orphans with Down Syndrome) Racing was created. What started out in 2012 as a small group of friends doing triathlons and marathons for these children, has turned into a group of over fifty runners and so far, they’ve found homes for seven orphans with Down syndrome.
Jed Grunig, the principal at Bridger Elementary, is a member of the RODS Racing team and encourages everyone to get involved, whether you are a runner or not. “There are lots of team members that aren’t just racing triathlons. They might race a 10k or 5k,” Grunig said. “There are lots of things that can be done to help raise awareness.”
To be a member of RODS Racing, there are a few requirements. Members must race in at least one race a year, commit to raise $1,000 which goes to the RODS Orphan, and give five hours of service to the cause.
RODS Racing is also being sponsored by Idaho Potatoes. Idaho Potatoes has agreed to match every dollar earned up to $50,000.
Murray personally chooses each orphan that RODS sponsors. The current RODS orphan is a boy from Asia named Vaughn. To find more information on how to donate or become a member of the team, you can visit the organization’s website at <a href=”http://rodsracing.org/” target=”_blank”>rodsracing.org</a>