Enabling Competition to Improve Quality of Life

News Release

Imagine having full mental faculties, but being unable to care for oneself including bathing, dressing, feeding, and moving about. Yet that can be the circumstance of individuals with cerebral palsy (CP). There are varying presentations with different levels of disability between individuals. But wouldn’t one feel trapped knowing what is possible but being limited physically? What about the feelings of a parent or sibling witnessing and helping a child through this challenge?

 

Puan Rohoni Hj Damiri, said, “My life was forever changed when our son, Muaz Kamaruddin was born with cerebral palsy. I gave up plans to finish my degree in the US and out of necessity sought to understand and meet the needs of our son.”

Other parents of CP patients likewise have expressed similar feelings and changes to their families.

CP is not treatable, but parents ask, "Can something be done to help our child and family endure this challenge?"

Boccia, a precision ball sport has been adapted for individuals with CP and has been designated as an official Paralympic sport. The object is to throw or roll a leather ball close to a target ball. Competitors take turns attempting to get closest or knock an opponent’s ball away. If the competitor’s disability is severe, a ramp can be used and aiming and elevation instructions given to an assistant whose back is to the court.

The boccia team at The Spastic Children’s Association in Petaling Jaya is a group of serious young athletes who play with intensity and drive. Each child’s goal is to compete successfully and hopefully advance to participate in the Paralympics, an international competition. It has helped give CP youth something to strive towards. Now athletes come to the center each day with a light in their eyes and hope in their hearts.

The youth don’t complain, but their facilities and equipment are severely limited.

Knowing how much participation means to the individuals and their families, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Rotary International collaborated to provide wheelchairs, an essential element for competition.

On October 17, 2018, an official handoff of five wheelchairs to the Spastic Children Association occurred. Of course, there were welcoming remarks, speeches, photos and refreshments. But there was also a mock competition between uncompromised adults and the young athletes. The skills of the young athletes humbled those they competed against as well as the audience. The skills of the youth were only surpassed by their sportsmanship and goodwill.  

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