Wenona pupils learn life lesson from Karni Liddell

September 6, 2012

Mosman-Daily | September 2, 2012 | By Simone Roberts

WENONA students learned a valuable lesson in overcoming adversity from Australian Paralympic swimmer Karni Liddell.

The bronze medallist shared the story of her triumph over spinal muscular atrophy with students.

“I was born missing a few little muscles and my parents were told I wouldn’t walk or crawl,” she told the girls. Refusing to accept defeat, her father created a walking frame for Karni and she learned to walk.

With her competitive spirit, she honed her strengths in swimming to compete at the Paralympic Games in 1996 and 2000, where she won bronze medals.

“It doesn’t matter what body I have been given, what family I am from, where I was born, or how much money I have got. You can do whatever you want with your life,” she said.

Read the article by clicking HERE or on the image below.


Hockey Hearts Needed: Apply Within

January 3, 2012

Hockey Hearts Needed: Apply Within

Cardiac Cane | January 2, 2012 | By KP Kelly

Jonathan Greeson is a 29 year old goalie with Spinal Muscular Atrophy or SMA. As a child, he fell in love with hockey. It became a sport that despite his disability, he could still play in backyard. Jonathan is the founder of the North Carolina Electric Wheelchair Hockey Association (NCEWHA) and the Carolina Fury PowerHockey™ Team. In March 2009, Jonathan and the Carolina Fury were honored by the Carolina Hurricanes as they were given the privilege of sounding the Hurricane Warning Siren. Jonathan was also named Time Warner Cable’s Skater of the Game.

Carolina Fury is one of many organizations supported by the Canes’ Kids ‘N Community Foundation, but the team needs fan support as well…

Click HERE or on the image below to read more…

Local 8-year-old bound to wheelchair bags first deer

October 10, 2011

Local 8-year-old bound to wheelchair bags first deer

Newark Advocate | October 9, 2011 | By Anna Sudar

BOWLING GREEN TOWNSHIP — There are no ramps in the forest.

The ground is often soggy or full of rocks and holes.

However, that doesn’t stop Cauy Sprankle from rolling through the woods in his power wheelchair to accompany his father, Chris Sprankle, on hunting and fishing trips.

On Sept. 30, the 8-year-old reached an important milestone in the life of any young hunter — killing his first deer.

With the help of his father, Cauy used a crossbow to shoot the doe from his wheelchair.

“It was a big feat for him, Chris said. “But he’s kind of a natural (at hunting).”

A third-grader at Glenford Elementary, Cauy was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy when he was 9 months old.

The neuromuscular disease is characterized by a progressive loss of muscle control and movement and increasing weakness.

It hasn’t slowed Cauy down.

“We try to let him do everything a normal kid would do,” Chris said. “He expects it.”

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The pep rally of a lifetime

July 6, 2011

The pep rally of a lifetime

ConnectAmarillo | June 29, 2011 | By Matt Hamilton

AMARILLO, TEXAS — Hundreds of people filed into the gymnasium at Amarillo High School Wednesday afternoon, but definitely not to see a game.

No, it was for something much better, they were there to see a little girl realize her dream.

Elvira Caralles is a 10 year old girl whose smile can light up a room, a good quality for any aspiring cheerleader, but unlike most kids her age Elvira has type two spinal muscular atrophy, making that goal much more difficult.

However, thanks to the good heart of a cheerleading coach at West Texas High School, Elvira got to live her dream.

Click HERE or on the image below to read more…

Hens help league score miracles

June 13, 2011

Hens help league score miracles

toledaBlade.com | June 13, 2011 | By Julie Mckinnon

Toledo Mud Hens pitcher Robbie Weinhardt was ahead in the count against Corey Pappas when the batter suddenly made the Miracle League of Northwest Ohio crowd on both sides roar.

“Help me out, crowd, please,” the 21-year-old Oregon man good-naturedly pleaded before hitting a rubber ball he couldn’t see — but his father assured him was in the strike zone.

Mr. Pappas, who has cerebral palsy and cerebral blindness, played Sunday in the annual Miracle League of Northwest Ohio All-Star Game with help from three Mud Hens heroes: pitchers Weinhardt and Thad Weber and outfielder Deik Scram.

“This is an absolute joy to come help out these kids,” Weber said between helping Miracle League athletes in the infield. “This is the best part of the day right here.”

Click HERE or on the image below to read more…

Annual event brings rodeo to local special needs students

May 23, 2011

Annual event brings rodeo to local special needs students

The News Courier | May 21, 2011 | By Lora Scripps

As the dust settled on the Limestone County Sheriff’s Arena Friday all that could be seen or heard were the memories of smiling faces and the residual sounds of laughter and cheer. It was the close of what could only be called a “fun-filled day” by those in attendance and meant the Ninth Annual Exceptional Rodeo had taken place. All held at a location where a number of exceptional cowgirls and cowboys were offered the ride of a lifetime.

“It’s my first time on a horse,” said Rhonda Holt at lunch on Friday after taking a ride around the arena. “I like it.” Holt said her favorite part of the event had to be the horses. “Yee haw,” she giggled.

The Exceptional Rodeo drew hundreds of special needs children and adults to the arena on Alabama 99. Some hopped on horses for the ride of their lives, while others tossed ropes around the necks of man-made steers. The rodeo had everything from a man-made bucking-bull ride to tractor and mule-drawn buggy rides to a petting zoo harboring llamas, goats, ponies and rabbits.

“This is my first year,” said Logan Byrd of Athens, adding his favorite part of the event is riding the horses as well. “Today was actually a surprise.”

Click HERE or on the image below to read more…

Making waves; Medical students begin program that allows special-needs kids to splash around with joy

May 16, 2011

Making waves; Medical students begin program that allows special-needs kids to splash around with joy

The Chronicle Herald | May 16, 2011 | By Laura Fraser

Van Bernard’s father lifts him from his motorized wheelchair. The three-year-old wriggles like a fish on a line desperate to return to the water.

Colin Bernard lowers his son to the lip of the pool, watching the boy’s legs dance in the waves made by other swimmers. Van scrunches up his nose — “It’s cold!” — but still holds out his hands.

And then he leans in to his instructor and splashes down. He squeals, smiles and starts kicking, clutching a steady pair of forearms.

“For the first time on his own, when he was in the pool, (it) was incredible; I cried,” Julie Clegg says of her son.

“We have a specialized head float where he can be completely independent and float around the pool. . . . He was pretty intimidated at first, but (then) he kicked, he was moving his limbs and his arms, and it was just a sense of freedom and independence.”

Click HERE or on the image below to read more…

PokerNews Interview: Josh Cranfill

April 29, 2011

PokerNews Interview: Josh Cranfill

PokerNews.com | April 29, 2011 | By Rich Ryan

At 14 months old, Josh Cranfill was diagnosed with Werdnig-Hoffman Disease – a form of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It is a degenerative muscle disease that weakens the muscles in the body until they eventual die out. Poker is unquestionably Cranfill’s favorite hobby, but since the United States Department of Justice shut down online poker in the United States, it’s become extremely difficult for him to play.

Cranfill is confined to an electric wheelchair, limiting his mobility, and lives in Burlington, North Carolina, which is a long way from any brick-and-mortar casino. He can play in home games, but the houses or buildings must be handicap accessible and he needs an assistant to get him there and help him play.

We were fortunate enough to catch up with Cranfill and talk to him about the current state of online poker and how it effects the handicapped community.

Click HERE or on the image below to read more…

‘Miracle’ ballpark for special-needs kids nears first pitch

April 7, 2011

‘Miracle’ ballpark for special-needs kids nears first pitch

Woodbury Bulletin | April 7, 2011 | By Riham Feshir

For four years, Kelly Madsen has been taking her son to play ball in Blaine every Thursday night.

The hour- and- a half-long drive wasn’t very convenient for the Woodbury mom of 9-year-old Bryce Madsen who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare disease characterized by muscle atrophy and loss of motor function.

But Blaine was the one location she could take her son to play “miracle” baseball on his power wheelchair, without worrying about a thing.

Beginning this summer, however, Madsen and a number of other families from the east metro won’t have to drive so far to participate in Miracle League — a nonprofit organization that helps communities build baseball fields for children with mental or physical disabilities.

A Woodbury field will be home to the East Metro Miracle League this summer, when construction will be finished after about three years of fundraising.

Click HERE or on the image below to read more…

Mpls. Dance Co. Shows There Are No Boundaries In Ballet

April 4, 2011

Mpls. Dance Co. Shows There Are No Boundaries In Ballet

CBS Minnesota (WCCO) | April 2, 2011 | By Cassie Bonstrom

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In a small studio in Minneapolis, Leah Nelson is helping her students master a bourrée turn. But really, she’s teaching them much more than ballet moves. She’s teaching the girls, who all use power wheelchairs, that they can be dancers.

“I like to move to the music,” said Mary Kate Bigelow of Rosemount. “It’s always been my dream.

”The girls taking one of the classes at Young Dance have various types of a neuromuscular disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA. Their cognitive skills are unaffected, but their muscles are weak and their bodies fragile.

For many of them, it’s their first formal dance class. And while they can’t dance on their feet, they can use their power chairs to do the same moves.

Click HERE or on the image below to read more…