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This year, through the Challenged Athletes Foundation's (CAF) 2013 grant distribution, 1,132 people with physical disabilities worldwide were empowered with the necessary adaptive sports equipment, training and competition expenses needed to get back into the game of life through sports. One young athlete that received a grant for her very own basketball wheelchair is an inspiration to us through her courage, selfless heart and determination to make an impact.
Lourdes Mack from Santa Monica, CA was born with Spina Bifida and hydrocephaly, which impacts her mobility and sensation from her waist down. Although her very early years were dictated by several serious surgeries due to complications from her conditions, she still managed to become an icon in the community.
Since the age of 7, she has had a love for kayaking and handcycling and has since grown to love playing wheelchair basketball and wheelchair tennis. Lourdes participates in surf camps and now has the strength to cross the swimming pool solo using mainly her arms. Lourdes has played more sports in her 10 years than many people have in their lifetime! CAF recently granted Lourdes a basketball wheelchair so she can now practice on her own, attend more games and camps and chase her dreams of being a competitor. "I am very, very competitive and sports always make me my best. I want to keep playing and I want to be one of the best", says Lourdes.
"Little Miss Wheelchair CA 2013"
Her athletic soul is coupled with a philanthropic heart where from a young age, she has raised awareness for physical disabilities by participating in galas, fundraisers and events and she looks forward to competing in the Kids Run at CAF's 2013 San Diego Triathlon Challenge.
Her beauty is seen inside and out as she is currently the reigning 'Little Miss Wheelchair CA 2013' and as part of her duties, represents her community at various events and inspires her peers to set goals, find activities they love, become active and achieve their dreams.
Her interest in sports continues to grow and Lourdes has dreams of competing at the highest level in the Paralympics one day - we have full confidence she will get there, living by her favorite motto, "Never give up."