Two Owensboro Kentucky girls get the chance to appear on the Katie Couric Show.
Lauren Tucker works every day with Karlie Hempel at Puzzle Pieces in Owensboro. Karlie has cerebral palsy, and she also has a love for speed. The two compete in several races across the area, now their story has now landed them in a national spotlight.
It's the ride of a lifetime for seventeen year old Karlie Hempel, every time her friend Lauren Tucker, takes off. For six years, friends and family say the two have shared a special bond.
Now, this friendship takes them on a new ride all the way to New York City to be featured on the Katie Couric Show.
"I have this gift that I can run and I can walk on my own ability. I feel like it would be selfish for someone who asks me to run with them, to not," says Lauren Tucker.
Lauren Tucker is nineteen. She and Karlie have crossed the finish line at nearly fifty races after the idea for 'Team Karlie' began in 2009. "Why don't we create our own team. We will name it after her and try to run in the BBQ Fest here in Owensboro. Ever since then, we've ran together," says Tucker.
The team was created to promote racing for people with physical disabilities. The idea was inspired by the globally known father-son duo, Dick and Rick Hoyt. This year Dick Hoyt says he will hang up his running shoes, and will be featured on Katie Couric's show along with the girls. "It's kind of a blur of excitement," says Tucker.
On June 5th the two flew to New York City with Karlie's mother. All three were interviewed by Couric about the impact team Hoyt has played on their lives. They say it was an unforgettable experience that continues to bring them closer. "I've never met another person who is as good inside as out, that is as unselfish of a person that I have ever met," says Karlie's mother Kathy Hempel.
They're not related but the Hempel's consider them more than running partners, but sisters. "She's given me just as much back that I'm giving to her, so it's just a win, win for both I guess," says Tucker.
Karlie was able to meet the Hoyts' in person. Her mother says it was a memory they will never forget. Their appearance on the Katie Couric Show will air on July 29th.
Lauren and Karlie's next race is also in July.
Learn more about the team by searching Facebook for 'Team Karlie'