Adaptive water sports event features limitless fun

Posted Monday, Oct. 07, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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When 6-year-old Anais climbed onto water skis for the first time recently, she wasn’t worried.

Even though she has spina bifida, a birth defect that can lead to disabilities including paralysis, the youngster is fearless.

Her mother, on the other hand, was not so confident.

“I was scared,” Maria Cabello said.

But mom’s fears were soon allayed when her youngest child was up and skiing.

“It was the first time and she was such a pro at it,” said Cabello of McKinney. “It was the most natural thing. She was amazing. We love seeing her happy.”

Parents like Maria and Nino Cabello had a similar opportunity for joy on Sept. 21 at Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation’s End of Summer Bash IX.

The event, which was free for those with disabilities and their families, was co-sponsored with nonprofit organization RISE Adaptive Sports, which assists people with physical disabilities through recreational sports programs.

The Saturday celebration at Meadowmere Park featured water air rifles, archery, a bounce house, camping, kayaking, a petting zoo, rugby, tubing and free food.

RISE Adaptive Sports is an Irving-based nonprofit organization that offers all types of athletic-related programs for those who have physical disabilities. They include basketball, fishing, golf, hand cycling, quad rugby, sailing, soccer, swimming, water and jet skiing and more.

The mission of the organization, founded by Paul Gray of Irving, is to help people with physical challenges “recover, inspire, succeed and empower” themselves and others by providing inclusive, adaptive recreational sports programs.

“This is one of the most popular RISE events, which gives people the opportunity to experience all of our adaptive recreation programs in one location,” said RISE executive director Chris Goad, adding that they offer more than 600 free programs annually.

The End of Summer Bash was a perfect match for Anais, whose name means “graceful.” She uses braces on both legs to walk and often uses a walker or wheelchair. But her mother said the youngster has always loved water and enjoys swimming.

“Anais talks about going out and water skiing every day now,” said Cabello, whose daughter’s first foray into water skiing graced the End of Summer Bash promotional poster.

The family — including Brian, 15, and Christian, 14 — enjoy their new affiliation with RISE and hope others can get involved in the 7-year-old organization.

“Before, I was depressed because I couldn’t find something special for Anais to do,” Cabello said. “Now we are thrilled.”

Marty Sabota, 817-390-7367

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