Ainsley and Briley Rossiter are not your everyday nine- and eleven-year-old sisters. They attend book signings, make appearances in cities across the U.S., and participate in races that change lives. The girls’ efforts are all a result of their involvement with the Ainsley’s Angels of America Foundation, which was co-founded by their father, Tim “Rooster” Rossiter, who serves as president.
Ainsley’s Angels provides jogger chairs, bikes, and rafts for athletic ride-along programs for anyone with a disability who would otherwise not be able to experience endurance events such as triathalons or road races. Captains, or those with a disability, are pushed by Angels, who are the runners, and together, they become a beautiful example of the message of inclusion.
Ainsley Rossiter, nine, is a strikingly beautiful brunette with bright eyes. When she was four, she was diagnosed with Infantale Neuroaxonal Dystrophy. According to her sister Briley, Ainsley communicated using sign language at first. “But now, she cannot walk, talk or use her hands, and she is not as cognitive,” she explained, “but we have found an interest in running together.”
Besides pushing her sister in races, Briley has also written a book, Born an Angel, that was inspired by Ainsley. Briley’s goal is to have the book in every elementary school in America to share the message of inclusion with everyone. She also hopes that her book will help others to understand that even if someone is in a wheelchair or is different, they should still be treated with respect.
Briley shares how sometimes people will stare at Ainsley because she might drool or make funny noises. The best thing that people can do, she advises, is to smile if they don’t know what to say or to shake Ainsley’s hand. “That means a lot to a person, and it shows them that you care and accept them,” Briley said.
Having Ainsley for a sister has taught Briley and her entire family important lessons in compassion, acceptance, and understanding. “Even a smile from Ainsley means so much to my family,” Briley said. “She has taught us to enjoy life while we still have it.”
Briley credits her parents, Active Duty Marine Major Tim “Rooster” Rossiter, and Lori Rossiter, for encouraging her to write a book about Ainsley. “Since I was little, my Dad has helped me with my writing,” she said. “He would review it and give me input.” Having a mom who works from home and is available to help is nice, too, Briley says.
Briley and Ainsley just completed an 8K for CHKD in Norfolk. They’ll hold a book signing at Barnes and Noble in Macarthur Mall on August 10th, as well as one at Barnes and Nobles’ Greenbrier Location. Other plans include attending the Abilities Expo in Houston, as well as racing on August 17th at the Surfers Healing 5K.
If that weren’t enough to inspire, there’s more. Briley has also made the selfless decision to donate all of the earnings from her book to Ainsley’s Angels of America, a decision that has made her father so proud.
“I find more pride in Briley’s decision to donate all of the proceeds than in the fact that she is a published author,” Tim “Rooster” Rossiter said.
“I want the money to go to something greater than I am,” Briley said. “I want the money to go back to the Foundation because this is an issue that’s bigger than me. I just want to help others.”
Briley plans to become a special education teacher or a physical therapist and work with children in the special needs community. She also wants to continue publishing books. As for her sister Ainsley, Briley sees a bright future ahead. “I hope
that Ainsley will continue enjoying life,” she said.
For more information about Born an Angel, please visit www.ainsleysangels.org and click on Born an Angel.