13-year-old boy with cerebral palsy reaches a milestone at the 31st Annual Cleveland Triathlon

Posted at 4:51 PM, Jul 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-23 16:51:16-04

A Cleveland family reached a milestone today in their journey with cerebral palsy.

Matt and Diane Cox were holding back tears as they saw their son, 13-year-old Ben Cox, walk over the finish line at the 31st Annual Cleveland Triathlon.

Ben walked a mile and a half, a feat he overcame against all odds.

"This is the first time that he's walked here on his own. We've done a shorter thing with him but this is the longest he's ever gone," his mother told News 5. 

Ben was born with a heart defect and has undergone 14 surgeries. After years of working with the United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland and years of therapy, he can now walk and go up and down the stairs.

Team Benjamin was just one of 11 families there at Sunday's race swimming, biking and running in an effort to help raise money for UCP.

"Our lives have been changed because of it and  this event is a celebration of all the families who have that same experience we do," said Ben Cox.

 About 800 athletes competed in the physically demanding race, some coming back year after year.

While this was the last race for the Cox family and all of the families with UCP, Diane said their efforts to raise money won't end.

"This may be the last triathlon but this isn't the last thing we're going to do in Cleveland," Diane said.