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Raising the Bar This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I was born with a disability called cerebral palsy, which affects the nerves in mybody. The doctors told me that I wasn't going to be strong. They thought Iwouldn't be able to handle a wheelchair, but my parents, my coaches, teachers andone great friend, Theresa, have taught me never to give up. They've helped merealize that it's not a bad thing to be born with a disability. Whatever I wantto do in life I can do.

I have set goals, both on a personal and aphysical level. I have been able to playing wheelchair basketball for theUniversity of Arizona for five years now. Basketball has helped me realize thatif I have a strong desire to do something, being in a wheelchair won't stop me.I'm grateful to my basketball coach, Rudy, for always telling me to beat mydisability and do what I wish to do in life. Weightlifting has helped me build myconfidence. When I come from basketball practice and the weight room, I feel likeI can do anything.

My disability does not affect my mental ability.Another goal is to finish high school and graduate from college. I'm interestedin studying sports medicine because it will help me learn more about mydisability, and train me to help others. My friends as well as my mentor, Gordie,have helped me reach my goals by supporting me. I will help others faced withbeing in a wheelchair and other personal challenges, because I have beenthere.

My challenges have been difficult but I can overcome them because Ihave set high goals for myself. One of my teachers encourages me and myclassmates to "Raise the bar." I would add, "Never give up."

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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