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My Disability Helps Motivate Me!

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Oksana Parmenter was eight years old before she realized that people in wheelchairs could do more than simply sit around and watch the world go by. Born with spina bifida and raised in a Lithuanian orphanage, Oksana was told she’d never play basketball or swim in a pool. But then Jan and Bill Parmenter adopted Oksana and brought her home to Pierson, Mich.

Soon thereafter, she participated in her first Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp at Grand Valley State University. “Sports camp made me more confident, outgoing … and competitive,” said Oksana, who spoke recently at the annual golf outing to benefit the Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports program at Mary Free Bed. Oksana is now 16 years old and plays varsity basketball for the Jr. Pacers wheelchair basketball team.

She’s also on the honor roll at Tri-County High School and was Miss Wheelchair Michigan in 2013. “Sports camp helped me learn that I’m not the only one in the world with this disability,” she told the golfers. “I have learned to live life to the fullest and not to let my disability hold me back.” Oksana is pictured above with her family at the annual MFB Sports Golf Outing.

The Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp will be held July 28th-August 1, 2014 at Grand Valley State University.

View pictures from the 2013 sports camp.

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