Devan McKinney isn't your average 13-year-old boy.
Unlike most adults, the rambunctious Kent teen can say he's competed in, and finished, the Cleveland Triathlon Presented by Life Time Fitness — with mom's help of course.
In 2011 members of the McKinney family tackled their first Cleveland triathlon by competing in the Super Sprint, the shortest of three options for the race.
Their goal was to raise awareness and financial support for United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland, where Devan has benefitted through therapy for nearly 10 years.
"It's kind of our way of giving back to UCP," Julie McKinney, Devan's mom, said.
UCP of Greater Cleveland is the official charity of the Cleveland triathlon. You can donate to "Team Devan" via their donation page.
Julie and Devan will compete again Sunday as part of "Team Devan," but this year they will tackle the Sprint distance, which includes a 16-mile bike ride, a 5K run and a nearly half-mile swim.
Such a race would be trying for even the fittest competitor, but it's especially challenging for this pair.
Devan has been diagnosed with the auto-immune disorder IPEX Syndrome, which turns his body’s immune system against his own tissues and organs. Unable to bike on his own, Julie pulls Devan in a Wike bicycle trailer during the bicycle leg of the triathlon. The trailer converts into a running stroller, which she then pushes Devan in during the running leg. Julie will swim alone.
But at the end of the race Devan joins the other children taking part by abandoning their canes, walkers, wheelchairs and other aides to cross the finish line under their own power.
"The funnest part is the finish," Julie said. "How could you not be moved by that?"
It's also one of many spots throughout the race where supporters of Team Devan, including his therapist, "Miss Nancy," gather to cheer them on.
Julie, a nurse by trade but a stay-at-home mom by choice, has been training with her husband, Scott, to get ready for this weekend's race. A new training partner and addition to the team is Dr. Sarah Adams, Devan's pediatrician.
And they train with Devan, too, who loves to ride along.
Julie recalled one recent training session when she tried to wake him up just before 6 a.m. on a Sunday. But the teenager, who never misses a chance at a ride, fought hard to sleep in before finally giving in to his mom's persistence.
"Just like a typical teenager," she said.
Quirks, and physical challenges, aside, Devan is just that — a teenager. He loves to play soccer, sings along with Taylor Swift songs, peruses YouTube for videos of birds and sea creatures on his iPhone and attends Stanton Middle School.
So far, this teen has helped raise more than $1,400 for UCP of Greater Cleveland.
"All funds raised go directly to UCP to support their fantastic programs to assist children and adults with disabilities," Julie said.
To support Devan and UCP of Greater Cleveland, visit his website to donate.