Executive Director Notes


Winter 2016-2017

Friday, December 16, 2016

AccesSportAmerica’s work is making a difference in the lives of over 2,000 people living with a disability.  We train people to be all they can be physically but offer so much more in simply becoming a part of an incredibly supportive community. 

In our past letters, I have been introducing you to a number of our athletes so that you can see the results of your gift. 

Today, I would like to introduce you to Melvin.  He was a renowned botanist who traveled the world for the National Institutes of Health collecting the taxis plant which has been used in the fight against cancer.  He ran marathons in less than four hours.  Now, a rare form of Parkinson’s disease challenges him. 

These days equally compelling is finding him running intervals for the lenth of a gym next to a trainer or windsurfing alone on a board adapted with a seat.  Walking is difficult at best and sometimes done only in short distances. 

However, sport excites something in him and running gets him up from his chair and “out of his head” to perform and function at higher levels.  The effects of Parkinson’s are often diminished with physical activity.  Here Melvin exceeds all expectations.

Michael has a similar experience at AccesSportAmerica.  He is a 20 year old with a huge heart, handsome smile and the determination of an elite athlete.  Mike has trained in every one of the AccesSportAmerica sports.

Now he focuses on cycling and soccer.  He trains every week through the year in the soccer and conditioning program.  He loves to ride on an upright tandem bike with a trainer.  This past summer, he also learned to ride a recumbent trike solo!   Mike is deeply proud of these accomplishments as he triumphs living with Cerebral Palsy.

AccesSportAmerica athletes living with challenges are trained to succeed and find higher function.  However, what is often overlooked is the importance of the healing that comes from being in this community.  AccesSportAmerica is a place of acceptance but also where imagination and hope meet so we all can understand how compelling people can truly be as athletes and as friends. 

Perseverance makes Melvin and Michael superstars in our community.

These two athletes have dramatically improved their strength, balance, and flexibility through their training and in becoming integral parts of the AccesSportAmerica Community.