NEW ORLEANS – Ashley Thomas
was born with spina bifida and uses a wheelchair. She also holds a position on
the U.S. national para-kayak team, and founded and runs a successful nonprofit
organization called “Bridge II Sports.” The North Carolina-based organization
develops programs that provide opportunities for children and adults with
physical disabilities to play team and individual sports. Ms. Thomas will be
speaking about her experiences at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
National Conference & Exhibition (NCE) in New Orleans at 11:15 a.m.,
Friday, Oct. 19 in the Ernest Morial Convention Center, room 208-209.
Bridge II Sports organizes
and develops adaptive sports for children and adults coping with multiple types
of disabilities. In partnership with community organizations, Bridge II Sports
provides the equipment, coaching and game space for a variety of sports,
including wheelchair basketball, tennis, golf, sitting volleyball, adaptive
sports for blind athletes, track and field and Paralympic air rifle training.
Bridge II Sports is a volunteer-based organization, which charges no fees for
participation in its programs.
“It has been a journey, and
some of my own life’s experiences are woven into the program and the
philosophies,” says Ms. Thomas. “As a person who was born with spina bifida,
and as a mother of three children (one with dyslexia, one with
attention-deficit disorder, and one with high-functioning autism), there are no
accidents, only paths to be discovered building confidence, self-esteem and
success. Disability never defines the person. One must own the weakness in
order to build the strength.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary
care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical
specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants,
children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.