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Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports motivates 10-year-old Ginessa to compete

Ginessa Aguirre is a spunky 10-year-old with a long brown ponytail who likes making slime, watching YouTube and cuddling with her cat, Smokey. She also likes cooking and baking with her mom, Nora. But what Ginessa likes most is playing basketball. “I like to steal the ball,” she said. See? Spunky. Ginessa plays for the…


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Bikes for the Rest of Us draws dozens of participants, volunteers

More than 75 children and adults with physical disabilities were introduced to adaptive bicycling during Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital’s annual Bikes for the Rest of Us event on Saturday. Each participant was paired with a therapist to determine the necessary adaptations that will enable them to pedal alongside their able-bodied friends. “This event helps…


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New Adaptive Cheerleading Team breaks barriers, builds friendships

The Mary Free Bed All Stars Adaptive Cheerleading team boasts enthusiasm and spirit to spare. The newest team organized by Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports is made up of enthusiastic young athletes with physical or cognitive impairments that prevent participation in able-bodied cheer. “A cheerleading team was a missing piece of our program, and it has…


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‘I have never underestimated my father or anybody else with a disability’

Guest blog: Nicholas Besta, 17, and his family know first-hand what living with a disability is like. That’s why they participate in Mary Free Bed’s peer support mentoring program, which is designed to give patients and their families access to people with injuries similar to their own. Nicholas, whose father, Pat, has used a wheelchair…


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Fun, fitness reign at Jr. Wheelchair Sports Camp

Charles McDonald first attended Mary Free Bed Jr. Wheelchair Sports Camp in 2002 as a camper. This year, he served as an instructor. More than 50 campers with disabilities participated in the July 25-29 camp at Grand Valley State University in Allendale. The free event offers kids of all ability levels and ages the opportunity…


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Mary Free Bed alumnus Bryan Barten heading to Paralympics in Rio

Bryan Barten will be the first to tell you he’s an athlete. And actually, he is a top athlete. In September, he will represent the United States at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. Barten, 42, a Hart, Mich., native who now lives in Tucson, Ariz., is one of the best wheelchair tennis players in…


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Preschool Sampler gives sports-lover Greyson introduction to team play

Greyson Gibbs is an energetic first grader who loves sports and playing with his friends. His participation in the Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports Program’s new Preschool Sampler offers him the best of both worlds. “He loves all the games they play and seeing all of his friends on a weekly basis,” said Greyson’s mom, Leigh….


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New fencing team challenges athletes physically, mentally

Tim Volkers loves swordplay. He’s a fan of “Zorro,” “The Three Musketeers,” “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “Star Wars” (yes, a lightsaber can be considered a sword). And now he’s wielding one himself. Tim is a member of Wheelchair and Adaptive Sports’ new fencing team, organized this year following success of the program’s adaptive…


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Adaptive snowboarding gets Raphael back on the slopes

Raphael Correa, a patient of Mary Free Bed’s Orthotics & Prosthetics program, recently met a new, post-accident goal – snowboarding at Timber Ridge Ski Area in Gobles, Mich. After he spent a month in a wheelchair Correa got his walking leg in November 2014 and has been working and training ever since. Raphael’s goal is to get back to…


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Mary Free Bed YMCA a global first for accessibility

Thursday, December 3, marked the start of an exciting new chapter in accessibility and opportunity. The West Michigan community — including many representatives from Mary Free Bed — came together to celebrate the ribbon cutting of the much-anticipated Mary Free Bed YMCA. This first-of-its-kind Y is the first health and wellness facility in the world to…


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