Dear Athletes Helping Athletes,
I would like a handcycle because it would give me a greater sense of independence. I would be
able to go bike riding with my family and friends. It would also give me another option for
mobility besides my walker and wheelchair. It would also benefit me physically because it would
help me to build stronger arm muscles. It would be like a dual benefit because then I could
maneuver my walker and wheelchair more easily.
Lara Dena Ameen
By way of introduction, my daughter, Lara Ameen is a 16 year old 11th grade Tesoro High School
student in the Mission Viejo area of Orange County. She was a 27 week premature infant and due
to her determination from the start, she continues to meet her challenges with an inspiring
attitude. Lara has always excelled with her academics and has always set her goals high. She
has been told by many of her teachers that she is one of the hardest working kids they have
ever seen. She has been an honor student since elementary school and has begun 2 Advanced
Placement courses this year. Due to her orthopedic disability, it takes Lara a lot longer to
achieve the same results her peers achieve, however she never lets anything stand in her
Throughout her life thus far, Lara has been devoted to many therapeutic choices we have made to
help her meet her future potential with crutches, a walker and her wheelchair. At 11 years old,
she had major hip surgery which was quite difficult and left her with severe scoliosis, which
we are continously struggling with to date. However, at 13 years old, she had a Bat Mitzvah, at
14 years old received her silver award in Girl Scouts and at 15 years old served as Jr. Miss
America for the city of Mission Viejo. She was selected on the strength of her outstanding
community service, scholastic ability and aspirations. She is on her way to receiving her Gold
Award Project thru Girl Scouts. During Lara's sophomore year, she was selected into the
National Honor Society and the California Scholastic Foundation through her school.
Lara continues to be involved with activities through her synagogue, community theatre, singing
and writing songs and short stories. She wants to be an example to other teens that "no
matter what your challenges are, not to give up and that success comes from hard work and
dedication. I want to inspire people through my passion for singing, acting and writing poems
Participating with various adapted sports over the past 8 years has been very exciting for her.
She has participated in a therapeutic horseback riding program and has been to at least one of
the wheelchair sports camps in San Diego each summer. Some of her favorite sports are: Over the
Line, where she received 1st place in a tournament when she was 11, jet skiing, tennis and
When Lara thinks of having her own handcycle, she imagines that she would then be able to
participate with some of her able bodied peers in a way she has never been able to. It would
give her a newfound freedom that she never had before. As you may imagine, she is left out of
many age-appropriate activities due to her disability. This handcycle would make Lara feel more
included and she would be able to be part of a sport with her peers on a whole new level.
Thanks for your consideration.