Michelle Moore and her daughter, Kaela, Age 16 from Buckingham have been coming to the Feel Inspired Junior sports camps for eight years. There’s obviously something that keeps bringing them back. So what is it that they just can’t miss?
‘It’s what’s different about being here that counts’, says Michelle with enthusiasm.
‘When we come here, it’s like a release, mentally and physically’.
Kaela has a sister who is not disabled, and there’s not usually a lot to do for them together, in terms of sport, so this is a fantastic opportunity for them to get together for some quality sibling time’.
The bowls centre based at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, where Kaela is happily practicing her underarm technique, is spacious, carpeted in a ‘bowling-green’ colourful hue, and although there are no windows, it almost resembles the fun and vibrancy of a ten-pin bowling alley or professional gymnasium.
‘We found out about WheelPower’s disability sporting events via a leaflet that we picked up from Kaela’s school. As Kaela isn’t particularly sporty, I thought this event would give her the perfect opportunity to get some worthwhile exercise – it does wonders for her self-esteem, confidence and positive mental attitude’.
The benefits of the Kaela’s participation are clear to see – she is playing bowls with a smile on her face, she’s receptive, engaged and mentally stimulated. The social impact is also evident from the way she is interacting with the other participants.
At first Kaela was unsure about joining in. Speaking to her about her experience at Wheelchair Cricket, she opens up and admits that to begin with she didn’t really think she was cut out for it!
‘As my turn came up for wheelchair cricket, I just clammed up – I got so fearful, that I couldn’t play properly. It was a real challenge for me to get involved, but the coaches were so encouraging and spotted instantly that I was struggling. They gave me the confidence to know that it was the taking part that counts’, says Kaela.
It’s very difficult to put on a pretence that everything is perfect and all fine. Kaela’s mum was open and honest about the daily living struggles that they face each day.
‘It’s always been an uphill battle, ever since Kaela was born’, Michelle says with a pause to recollect herself, ‘even simple tasks take longer than the average person to complete, things like, taking a wash, getting dried and dressed, using the bathroom, putting shoes on independently and getting in and out of transport, pretty much everything is restrictive.
‘We look forward to this event each year. If Kaela’s having a tough time at school or in general, just the thought of knowing that these type of disability sports activities are available to us is indispensable.
‘So to come here, and take part in all of this, well, how can I word it, it’s an escape!’.
‘I don’t know what we’d do without these WheelPower disability sport activities’, says Michelle.