Courtney Hines said she’s a big fan of pop singer Taylor Swift.
That’s why she named her team “Courtney Squad” for the Alpha Duck Waddle 5K’s new 1-mile walk at Mingo Park this Saturday.
“All (Swift’s) friends are in a squad,” Hines said.
Hines had at least eight people on her team as of mid-July, but encouraged more to join her by registering for the walk or to make a donation toward her goal of $600 for the Alpha Group of Central Ohio, the event organizers.
Hines has worked as a receptionist for the Alpha Group for nearly three years.
“Alpha is very good with helping people with disabilities,” she said. “I’m really grateful to Alpha.”
Hines, who has cerebral palsy, will participate in the 1-mile waddle in her wheelchair wearing an event T-shirt, tie-dyed in her favorite colors of pink and purple, with fairy wings and a tiara.
Sheila Thomas, an Alpha Group spokeswoman, surprised her with the outfit one day.
“Everyone at the office calls (her) princess,” she said.
Hines hopes to be an inspiration for other people with disabilities by participating in the walk.
“I hope I’m an example,” Hines said.
This will be the third year for the Alpha Group’s 5K races. Winners will be recognized in the following categories: male, female, 12 and under, abilities, top three for the kids fun run, and top fundraiser.
Registration for the 5K and 1-mile walk will open at 8 a.m. with the race to follow an hour later. Participants will receive race packets, which includes a duck t-shirt/tank, cinch backpack, Mingo Pool pass, one duck race entry, and a voucher for a free doughnut.
The new mile walk was designed to give “people with wheelchairs, strollers an opportunity to participate,” said Craig Conroy, board chairman of the Alpha Group.
In general, he said the event helps Alpha continue its mission to connect people with disabilities with work in the community.
“It’s a family day opportunity for the kids and family,” he added.
There will be a Kids Fest that will include a bounce house, games and live music.
In addition, duck races will begin at 10:30 a.m. There will be four rounds in which participants will race their ducks on the Olentangy River. The winner of each round will then compete for the grand prize.
Proceeds from the event fully benefit the Alpha Group.
For information or to help raise funds, visit www.alphagroup.net.
Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.