My chest was tight and I couldn’t breathe--because my spine was pinching my right lung. My classmates passed me on the track. And when all of my friends were done, I still had another lap.
Until that mile run in the seventh grade, I used to pretend my disability wasn’t there. But that day, I realized I’d have to face it.
My doctor told me that one in a million people have multiple pterygium syndrome -- a combination of congenital scoliosis and a joint disorder that makes it hard to move my arms and legs. At the age of 10, I went from being a kid who climbed trees and ran just about everywhere, to one who might never play sports again. I felt angry and alone.
Then, I was adopted out of foster care, and eventually my mom took me to wheelchair basketball because she didn’t want me to give up on being active.
I remember my first time in a gym full of other kids with disabilities. Some were making basket after basket from in their wheelchairs, but I was just trying to get used to pushing one for the first time.