‘It feels like family to me’: Ottawa bus crash survivor with Down syndrome races for a good cause

Ottawa bus crash survivor with Down syndrome Elizabeth Langan completed her first official race for a good cause. (Saron Fanel/CTV News Ottawa)

Elizabeth Langan has two reasons to celebrate: her 27th birthday and her first official race.

“I go on the treadmill for five laps and I do it for 30 minutes or 32 minutes,” she said.

She was hoping to run the 2K race at the Tamarack Race Weekend, but the event is virtual this year. It’s the latest event cancelled because of COVID-19.

“So when COVID-19 happened, obviously there were some disappointments,” her mom, Lyne Filion, said.

Runners have until Sept. 7 to log their race time. Langan chose to race on her birthday.

She ran five laps around her grandmother’s Kanata senior’s complex and drew a crowd of supporters.

“I really love her very much. She’s been great and so supportive,” Langan said, grateful to have her grandma watching from a balcony.

Langan has Down syndrome and is also living with the aftermath of last year’s horrific Westboro bus crash. She suffered whiplash and still has nightmares.

Throughout her life, Camp Misquah - a space for kids and adults with disabilities - has been an escape. The camp mascot, Misquah Moose, even ran with her.

Due to COVID-19, the summer camp has also been cancelled.

“This year has brought a lot of sadness,” said Mark Wigmore, the camp’s executive director.

“COVID made it impossible for us to do the camp the way we wanted to,” he said.

However, he was thrilled to be able to run alongside Langan who raised $695 for the camp.

“I love Camp Misquah because it’s always been a home to me and it feels like family to me,” Langan said.

This will be the first summer in a decade she is not attending.

For a camp that has given so much to her, she is happy to pay it forward.

“Thank you to all my friends and Camp Misquah for everything.”