'Spectacular' day for kids with disabilities

August 4, 2012 3:43:35 PM PDT
Dozens of children with various physical disabilities were introduced to a wide range of sports on Saturday afternoon at the Wells Fargo Center in South Philadelphia.

It was part of the 8th annual United Spinal Sports Spectacular.

The president of the United Spinal Association, Paul Tobin, said children ages four through 16 were introduced to sports like basketball, sled hockey, tennis and martial arts during the free six-hour long event.

"They'll be the kid, finally, not sitting on the outside but right in the middle of the action," Tobin said.

The event was about more than exercise. It was also a great way for the kids to make new friends, develop a sense of camaraderie, teamwork and build confidence on the courts.

One of the mentors on the court Saturday was Lindell Lowe, a 23-year-old from West Philadelphia. He has spent his life battling a spinal cord disorder called spina bifida.

Now, he's serving as a role model for children with similar struggles.

"Don't let the wheelchair fool you, don't let nothing take your life away," Lowe said.

For the kids participating, their spirits come alive on the court.

"It's a chance to give me independence," said Patricia Hill of Mullica Hill, New Jersey.

It's also a chance for parents to watch their children enjoy a sense of belonging.

"It's for them to come and not be judged," said Jeanelle Toney of West Chester, Pa.

For more information about United Spinal, visit their website at UnitedSpinal.org.

To join a sled hockey team in South Jersey, contact:

Stephen Bareiszis
609-432-4376
Email: autooutlet1@comcast.net

To join a sled hockey team in Philadelphia, contact:

Bill Mahoney
215-572-8955
Email: mahoneywp@comcast.net


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