Cross country runs so Cammy can

 Devin PrasadWurster

Sports Editor

Cross country coach Pete Wintermute could not have been more happy when Cameron Babiarz was born. Cameron, also known as Cammy, was the first baby born of his group of friends in Chicago. Eight months later, Wintermute and his wife had a child of their own named Bobby.

Wintermute was excited for the two kids to grow up together and become friends, but not long after, the Babiarz family realized something was wrong.  Bobby was developing much faster than Cameron. The family had Cameron tested and found out that she had a rare condition that only 1 in 10,000 children have called Rett Syndrome.

Rett syndrome is a neurological mutation on the X chromosome. Rett affects speech, as well as senses and motor ability within the body. For the family, the news was shocking, but Wintermute was determined to do all that he could to help the family.

“I am willing to do anything and everything I can in hopes that one day she’ll be able to walk like you or me,” Wintermute said.

So, a few years back, Wintermute along with the girls’ cross country team took on the challenge to raise awareness of Rett and got the idea to sell t-shirts.  The t-shirts are not for profit or to raise money, but are mainly just for awareness purposes.  This year, the team hopes to sell over 200 shirts, and Wintermute knows that each pair of eyes that see a shirt is someone who may potentially create a cure for this debilitating disease.

The family has been very appreciative of the team and makes it a point to visit them each year to show their gratitude.  Even Cammy, using her speaking her device is able to thank the girls. Cammy’s mother also  cannot be more thankful according to Wintermute. She has expressed her gratitude each year starting after the first event the team held for Cammy.

The team is “in it for the long haul” and has been able to use the example that Cammy has set through her strength as an example for them.

“It means a lot because it is helping this little girl get back on her feet… literally,” runner Gina Burck said.