The City of Lake Charles is busy planning the annual Red White Blue & You July 4th Celebration. Ainsley’s Angels will serve as Grand Marshals for the patriotic street parade beginning at 6pm. This volunteer-based service provides jogger chairs, bike trailers, boat rafts, team uniforms, and race entry fees for disabled persons, known as “Captains”, with the runners known as “Angels”.The athletic ride-along program has seven charitable chapters across the United States, and was created for those with disabilities to experience endurance events such as triathlons or road races. www.ainsleysangels.org
Mayor Randy Roach said, “We always look forward to the parade on this very special holiday. This year we are truly proud and honored to have these Captains and Angels lead our parade and to carry out their mission.”
The program was inspired by Ainsley Rossiter, an amazing little girl with a smile that will light up any room. Ainsley was diagnosed in 2007 with an extremely rare genetic nerve disorder called Infantale Neuroaxonal Dystrophy (INAD). She turned nine years old in December of 2012 and is still aggressively fighting her rapidly progressing illness. Only nine cases of INAD are known in the United States. Most children with this diagnosis pass on before reaching ten years of age, as there is no cure or treatment to help slow down this very progressive and terminal disease. Shortly after being diagnosed, Ainsley completed her first of many running-aided races. It was apparent to Ainsley’s family that the experience of the race was a therapy like no other. In an effort to spread this amazing experience to as many people as possible, Ainsley’s Angels of America was formed.
Ainsley is the daughter of Lake Charles natives, Lori and Major Kim ‘Rooster’ Rossiter, USMC, now residing in Virginia Beach. She has a sister, 11 year old Briley, and a brother, 7 year old Kamden. Her parents will celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary on July 4th in Lake Charles with family and friends. The family will kick off the day by participating in the Lake Area Runners 4th of July four-miler, and later they will enjoy BBQ and a book signing(www.ainsleysangels.org/Born-an-Angel-By-Briley.html) before lining up for the parade.
Major Rossiter said, “It is our intent to have as many Captains and Angels available for the parade, including Captain Ainsley and representatives from our Texas chapter. We are so excited to be able to enjoy this Fourth of July in Lake Charles…we are humbled by the offer to serve as the Grand Marshal, as it is EXACTLY the type of honor and opportunity we are eager to embrace to aid in the accomplishment of our mission!”
The Parade will roll at 6pm from Mill Street, south on Ryan Street, dispersing at the corner of Ryan and 7th Street (by Lock Park). The celebration will continue at the Civic Center Outdoor Amphitheatre beginning at 7:15pm. The program will open with Eleisha Eagle singing the National Anthem, music duo Paul Gonsoulin & John Guidroz, a concert by the Lake Charles Community Band with the Louisiana Choral Foundation & Friends, and a salute to the Armed Forces. The evening will be topped off with the fireworks extravaganza over the lake at 9:15pm. For more information or a parade entry form, go to www.CityOfLakeCharles.com or 337-491-9159.