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Bomhof said before she met Coulter, she was not aware there are (disabilities) that are not readily noticeable.

That is the message Hailey Bomhof wants to share and is among her reasons for entering the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay.

"Our family is very inclusive and no one deserves to be left out in life."

Coulter, 7, also of Richards Landing, has autism. Bomhof's mother, Rhonna, is his godmother.

'He makes me laugh'

"I find it disgusting," she said.

The Richards Landing resident and Central Algoma Secondary School Grade 12 student, along with classmate Lexie Lajambe and school staff member Carol Hunt Ford, will participate in the relay in Bruce Mines Sunday.

"At first, I didn't have a story why I wanted to participate, but later organizers requested Converse Chuck Ii Camo

"I can't understand how they could be like that," she said. "He's such a loving person and, for them not to notice it, and laugh or walk away. He's lucky to have Faith (his twin sister)."

Bomhof has not chosen whether Converse Classic Low Cut

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she will run or walk, but is entering for a boy very special to her, her "godbrother," Connor Coulter.

"They don't know or take the time," she said. "I didn't know anything about autism. I was taught you shouldn't automatically think they are dumb or stupid, but that happens. Rather than ask, they say stuff they shouldn't."

Hunt Ford starts the Bruce Mines leg on Highway 17, just east of Highway 638. Hunt Ford will hand off to Bomhof after 250 metres, who will hand off to Lajambe at the next 250 metre mark.

Bomhof said the idea of exclusion brings her to the point of tears.

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At the end of June, Bomhof applied online to participate as a medal bearer. She received word at the end of August that she was selected. To confirm her participation, Bomhof was required to respond, as well as answer a math question.

On Oct. 25, Bomhof received confirmation. Initially, she was encouraged to enter by her mother, Rhonna, after the two saw TV commercials for the event.

Rhonna saw the Canadian Paralympian on his Man in Motion World Tour 25 years ago.

The relay kicked off Aug. 24 in Cape Spear, Nfld., and will retrace the Canadian segment of the original tour.

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"As a family, we are very excited," added Converse Hi Tops Kids

"Our stories may be different, but they are stories that need to be told," Bomhof said.

While the focus was once more on spinal cord injuries and more visible disabilities, Bomhof said she is participating to draw attention to "invisible disabilities," such as autism.

"It made me realize everything you say and do hurts them, the same as anyone Converse High Cut Women else," she said. "You really need to take the time to understand. Once you understand, then you can really appreciate them and love them, as you would anyone else."

"It was history in the making," she said. "As a child then, he (Hansen) was a hero to me, and my daughter is helping him, again, do something amazing for others. The passion he has is contagious."

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Family and friends, including Coulter, will be on hand for support.

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(a motive)," she said in a recent interview.

"It's a good time to raise awareness . There are things you can't see (physically) about people that makes them a little different from you or me," she said. "It's important not to judge on their actions or compare them to yourself."

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Bomhof said it "makes her sick" when she sees Coulter on the playground, by himself, excluded by schoolmates or laughed at.

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Much of this boils down to ignorance.

In every province, relay medal bearers will pass along the singular Rick Hansen Medal, produced by the Royal Canadian Mint, as the relay makes its way across the country. Hansen will be present in a number of cities and stops along the relay. There's no word he will appear here.

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Rhonna, Coulter's godmother.

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Disabled individuals are not different than able bodied people in that they, too, have goals and dreams.

Bomhof said what she is looking forward to most about the relay is the opportunity it affords to gain knowledge and understanding about disabilities.

"Don't look at Connor for being autistic, but for who he is," Bomhof said. "He makes me laugh. He's such a lovable person."

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