From Kazakhstan to Main Street: A Hamilton girl’s unlikely path to the finish line of a 5k

Updated: Feb. 25, 2020 at 8:24 PM EST
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BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - A Hamilton mother-daughter duo recently completed the Disney Princess 5k at Disney World in Orlando.

Erin Herman and her 10-year-old daughter Hannah Herman finished the race side-by-side.

“I wanted to do the 5k to inspire other people,” Hannah explained. “That’s why I signed up to do this, to inspire other people to do anything they want to do, if they put their mind to it.”

“It was great!” Erin added. “She sprinted the entire thing. I had to run to catch up with her. And I think if we do it again, we’re going to work a little more on pacing.”

But getting to the start line of the race wasn’t easy for Hannah. She was born in Kazakhstan and was adopted by Erin when she was a year old.

Hannah had a club foot and was told she would never walk.

“We chose Disney because I’ve always referred to Hannah as my fairy tale,” Erin said. “She’s my dream-come-true, and I thought, what a special place to celebrate!

"We always said, this child who was born in Kazakhstan, that is of Korean descent, now she’s here in America, she has a disability. All of a sudden she’s running down Main street, USA.”

Hannah has gone through several surgeries, has had to wear a cast and braces and at the age of two started using a walker.

But now she’s defied medical odds, not only to walk but to be a competitive runner and swimmer too.

“Hannah is an inspiration to other children because anything she was told she couldn’t do she’s now able to do,” Erin said. “We didn’t think she’d be able to swim, now she’s setting records in the pool. We didn’t think she’d be able to walk and now she’s running a 5k.”

Hannah agrees with her mom.

“I want to be an inspiration to them," she said, "so I can show them how to power through everything and persevere.”

Hannah explains her favorite part of the race was crossing the finish line. She adds she did stop a couple of times to take pictures with the characters.

Her dad and two siblings also came on the trip and enjoyed the parks together as a family.

Hannah and Erin want to do the Disney Princess 10k next year!

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