PEI

Boy, 11, helps buddy with Down syndrome finish race

At a recent cross-country zone meet, 11-year-old Charley Doiron's true nature and character were revealed.

Charley Doiron showed his true character by cheering on and running with pal Ben Matheson

It wasn't about finishing the race for two P.E.I. boys, but about sportsmanship and a special friendship 1:42

There are moments in all of our lives that define us, revealing our true nature and character.             

After finishing a cross-country race, Charley Doiron went back to help his good friend Ben Matheson cross the finish line. (Sarah Keaveny-Vos/CBC)

At a recent cross-country zone meet on P.E.I., 11-year-old Charley Doiron had one of those moments.              

Charley had just finished a two-kilometre race, coming in 73rd out of a group of over 200 racers.              

After crossing the finished line, he started looking around for his friend Ben Matheson, who has Down syndrome and is non-verbal.

If you didn't have friends, you'd finish the race alone. I'd do it any day for Ben.- Charley Doiron

He and Charley have been friends and classmates at Central Queen's Elementary School since Grade 3.

When Charley saw that Ben was still running and struggling to finish the race, he went back to help his buddy.

They crossed the line together.

"He's my friend and I wanted to see him finish," said Charley.

"If you didn't have friends, you'd finish the race alone. I'd do it any day for Ben."

'Ben is awesome'

Parent volunteer Velma Vos witnessed the whole thing unfold.

"And I saw Ben, running with his red face and Charley beside him just cheering him on right to the finish. And Charley was so proud of Ben," said Vos. "And it just showed true teammate sportsmanship, fun and that's what it should be about."

Charley and Ben have been friends since Grade 3. (Sarah Keaveny-Vos )

She said he had tears in her eyes watching the boys.

"I can't even describe it. It was a very special moment."

Vos told the boys' school principal Tara Deglan-Gallant about what she had seen. Deglan-Gallant then relayed the message to Charley's mom Ellen Locke-Doiron.

She calls her son compassionate and loving.

"When I asked him about it, his response was, 'Ben is awesome.' So I think he saw Ben and wanted to be with Ben and help him."

Ben's mom Jean Matheson says it's "amazing" that Charley went that extra step to help her son.

"Ben gets tired very easily and with the extra encouragement would give him the extra boost he needed to finish the race," said Matheson.

With files from Sarah Keaveny Vos

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