Jim Cuevas
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Jim Cuevas

Jim Cuevas

Dear Athletes Helping Athletes,
My name is Jim Cuevas and I was born with Spina Bifida. I'm 13 years old and I have been participating in wheelchair sports since 2002. I do track & field, road racing, wheelchair basketball, sled hockey and swimming. I have been involved in track & field as a member of the North Jersey Navigators since April 2002. In less than two years doing track & field, I have become one of the best athletes in the country in my category and I have won several awards including the 2002 Best Male Athlete, 2003 Sportsmanship Award, 2004 Spirit of Excellence Award, and 2004 Best Male Athlete. Last month, I attended the Jr. National Wheelchair Sports games in Mesa, AZ; I participated in track & field and swimming; and netted a total of 17 medals; 14 gold's and 3 silver's. In addition, I play basketball with the New Jersey Jaguars and last March we went to Peoria, Illinois, to participate in the Jr. National wheelchair Basketball Games and we placed 5th. I also play sled hockey with the Jersey Warriors. Every year my teams participate in several regional competitions in New Jersey, Connecticut, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Besides having fun. I think that having a handcycle will be very cool and will help me increase my strength and endurance; which will help me improve my performance in all the sports that I'm currently involved in. Also, I would like to start participating in handcycle events and compete in handcycle competitions. Having a handcycle will allow me to ride bikes with all my friends, ride bikes in the park and have a lot of fun. Hopefully, by becoming a better athlete and improving my riding skills, I will be able to accomplish the goal of one day representing the USA in the Paralympics Games. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Jim Cuevas
July, 2004

Track & field, swimming, road racing, wheelchair basketball and sled hockey:
born on January 12, 1991 in the city of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.

Jim was born with Spina Bifida/meningomyelocele. Jim is going into the 8th grade and attends Public School #34 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Jim has been involved in track & field and swimming as a member of the North Jersey Navigators since April 2002. He has been playing basketball since September 2002 as a member of the New Jersey Jaguars and last year he started playing sled hockey with the New Jersey Warriors.

Because of Jim's determination, energy, and athletic ability, just a couple of months after he joined the North Jersey Navigators, he was able to qualify for the 2002 Jr. Wheelchair National Games; Jim finished between 5th and 7th for all the events he competed in. Shortly after the Jr. National Games, Jim received the "New Male Athlete Award" at the Burke Invitational Wheelchair Games and at the 2003 Tri-State Regional Wheelchair Games, he received the "Male Sportsmanship Award". Over the past two years, Jim has been training very hard - spending additional time practicing track & field and has continued to improve drastically. At all the regional competitions he participated over the past two years, he placed 1st for all the events that he competed in. At this year's Jr. National Wheelchair Championship Games in Mesa, AZ, he placed 1st in all the track events including the 100m, 200m, 800m, 1500m, 4x100 relay, and 800m medley relay. Jim placed 1st in all the swimming events, including 25 yd free style, 50 yd free style, 25 yd breast stroke, 50 yd breast stroke, 25 yd back stroke, and 50 yd back stroke. He placed 2nd in all the field events, including javelin, shot put and discus. Just two and a half years after he started track & field, Jim's personal track records include: 0:20 seconds in the 100m, 0:37 seconds in the 200m, 1:12 minutes in the 400m, 2:19 minutes in the 800m, 4:23 minutes in the 1500m. And for field events: 4.10m in shot put 15.64m in discus, and 9.75m in javelin.

Jim is a good basketball and sled hockey player and continues to improve in both sports every week. In February 2004, Jim participated in the Sled Hockey National Games in Voorhees, NJ and in March 2004, Jim participated in the National Wheelchair Basketball Games, and the team finished 5th place. In September 2003, Jim started participating in road races. At his first 3K road race, he competed against approximately 500 able bodied athletes. He finished 1st in his age division, and 5th overall, with the time 12:01 minutes. In May 2004, Jim participated in a 5K road race against approximately 150 able bodied athletes, finished 1st overall with the time 13:25 minutes. At the age of 13, Jim has the potential to become a great athlete and with your help he will be able to accomplish his goals; which are to continue excelling in sports and to participate in the Paralympic Games representing the US in the near future.

To whom it may concern,

My name is Kenneth Brucato and I'm the North Jersey Navigator's head coach. The North Jersey Navigators is a non-profit wheelchair sports team focused on track & field and swimming events. The Navigators promote excellence and develops opportunities in wheelchair sports for disabled athletes. The team competes at the regional and national levels.

Jim Cuevas is a 13-year-old boy with Spina Bifada. One day one of my assistant coaches, Daniel Marti, spotted him rolling down Danforth Avenue in Jersey City and he invited his mother, Isabel Cuevas, to come to one of our track & field weekly practices. In April 2002, I met Jim Cuevas at one of my track & field practices. I tried him in one of our racers and there was no doubt in my mind that he was going to become an excellent athlete within a short period of time. During his first practice, Jim impressed all of us with his athletic abilities and joined after his first practice. Jim is very disciplined and possesses excellent sportsmanship skills. Since I've been involved in wheelchair sports I have never seen an athlete as dedicated and committed as Jim; he takes any wheelchair sport very serious. In addition, I have never seen an athlete excel and progress as fast as Jim has. In two years, Jim has become not only the best athlete from my team but one of the top athletes in the US in his category. Jim trains very hard and during track season he even practices several times a week at the track in his neighborhood in the dark because the track doesn't have any light poles. Jim has exceptional athletic abilities and can adapt to any sport within a short period of time despite his disability; he doesn't let his disability get in his way, no matter what. Jim is definitely a good example of a person that believes that there are no sidelines.

Last April, Jim decided to try swimming so his parents signed him up for beginner swimming lessons at the YMCA. Because of Jim's athletic abilities, he was able to learn the swimming strokes within the first couple of lessons. Just six weeks after he started swimming, Jim was able to participate in swimming for the first time at the Mason's meet and obtained first place in the 6 events he competed in and was able to qualify for the Jr. National swimming events. In preparation for the 2004 Jr. National Wheelchair Championship games, Jim was practicing 3-5 days a week but last March he injured his wrist and was forced to cut down on his training. Despite the injury, he continued training in swimming several times a week and track & field once a week; and because of his courage and determination, he was able to compete at the qualifying meets and qualify for the Jr. National Games. Also during this track season, he won the "Spirit of Excellence Award" at the Children's meet and at the Mason's meet, he netted 14 gold medals and won the "Best Male Athlete Award". All my athletes admire him and see him as a role model. Jim is also my athletes' mentor and he is always giving them advice and tips to improve their skills; he is always pushing them to strive for the best. Jim's goals are to continue to excel in wheelchair sports and to be able to participate in the Jr. Paralympics and Paralympic Games in the near future.

Jim has an excellent future in track & field and swimming. Jim has the potential to become a great athlete at the adult level. Jim has so much talent that I'm confident that he will be participating at the 2008 Jr. Paralympic Games. Jim would benefit by having the handcycle because it will allow him to cross train all year around; and at the same time he will be having a lot of fun riding the handcycle and socializing with all his friends.

Kenneth Brucato

To Whom It May Concern:

The purpose of this brief letter is to tell you a little about a very special boy. The special boy is my nephew, Jim Cuevas. He is special in so many ways that this might actually become a long letter.

The first time I ever saw Jim, I fell in love with him. He had that spark in his eyes that let me know that one day he would be winning races and competing like a champion. He has a way about him that makes me happy and hopeful for the future. He is bright, outgoing and very hardworking. There are many times when Jim needs a little push to get him going, but once he is off, there is no stopping him. Sports give him an outlet to socialize with kids his age, and to build life long friendships. Competing in athletic events has also helped Jim develop confidence. He has learned that hard work and perseverance pay off.

Overall, I think that Jim is a terrific, hardworking athlete that has tons of potential and talent.

Johanna Ellerbe

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