For Father/Daughter Duo, Triathlon Provides A Chance To Bond

Michigan man’s active life is inspired by 14-year-old daughter, who suffers from Rett Syndrome.

Some of Jeff Jauch’s favorite days are when he can bring his 14-year-old daughter, Chelsea, along for a long bike ride and it can be just the two of them, with miles of road stretched in front of them.

“There will be nothing but me and her, and she smiles and giggles the whole time,” Jauch, 38, said. “You can’t replace that time.”

That’s what makes all the races they’ve competed in a nice bonus.

On Sunday, Jauch and Chelsea will take part in the sprint distance of the first Grand Rapids Triathlon. The duo already has done about 15 other triathlons together, along with three Fifth Third River Bank Runs and three Grand Rapids Marathons.

Chelsea, however, is the more-experienced competitor.

She also was the inspiration for Jauch’s active lifestyle.

Chelsea was born with Rett Syndrome, a disorder of the nervous system that affects about 1 out of 10,000 children. She can’t walk or talk or eat normally, and frequently suffers from severe seizures.

Six years ago, though, Chelsea was able to take part in the Reeds Lake Triathlon through Ride of Their Lives, an organization that helps disabled children participate in physical activities.

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