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Central Coast Students Help Disabled Man Participate In Triathlon

Photo by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
John Cornelius bicycles while his disabled son, Joseph, sits in trailer built by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo students

College students on the Central Coast helped a disabled man participate in a triathlon over the weekend.

Twenty-four-year-old Joseph Cornelius has cerebral palsy and can neither walk nor talk, but he was able to complete the San Luis Obispo Triathlon with his father on Sunday thanks to a group of engineering students. These Cal Poly San Luis Obispo students built a safe and comfortable trailer that connects to a bicycle so that Joseph could ride as his father, John, cycled.

“I look back at Joseph’s childhood and it was so challenging. I would never imagined in my life that we’d be doing events like this and he would have these opportunities. That his can happen with everything that he faces, it means the world to me,” he said.

The students also previously built devices that allowed Joseph to participate in the swim and run parts of the triathlon. John says the equipment gives his son more freedom to be active, which has positively impacted his physical and mental health.