ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The Joseph Thomas foundation celebrated the 16th annual triathlon, where volunteers created an inclusive experience for children with disabilities to participate in games like bowling, skee-ball and miniature golf.

Hunter is 12 years old and he is one of the ambassadors of the foundation. He loves bowling and gets competitive sometimes. His mom, Jamie Thomas, said Hunter is a person with a disability, so as a parent, the triathlon gives her the peace of mind her son can have a fun time in a judgement-free zone.

“Is my kid going to throw down and have this massive meltdown and climb on things he shouldn’t here? We are like ‘okay whatever we’re good’ or ‘do you need a hand we’re here for each other,'” Jamie Thomas explained.

Founder John Thomas said with his late son Joseph, it was difficult for his family to even leave the house out of fear of forgetting medical equipment or that something negative would happen.

“Joseph had a trach and a ventilator and he had a feeding tube and it took us a while for us to realize that he was going to be okay if we took him with us,” John Thomas expressed.

Knowing firsthand how isolating it can feel, he created the event in honor of his son, so families can meet others in similar situations.

“Sometimes a lot of these families never been to a place like this. We had to explain to them we understand, we know it, we live it, this is for everybody,” John Thomas added.

Jamie said she wishes other people could see the joy on the kids faces.

“These are kids with disabilities and they’re playing bowling, they’re playing putt putt and they’re making friends and they’re feeling normal. No one is judging them,” Jamie Thomas expressed.

John Thomas said this is the 16th annual triathlon and more than 80 kids participated in the event. He shared that he is thankful that they were able to increase their participation back to how it was before COVID-19.

For information about the John Thomas Foundation and how to donate visit here: Joseph Thomas Foundation | Outshining Medical Disabilities