Dwayne L. Murray, Jr
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Dwayne L. Murray, Jr

Dwayne L. Murray, Jr

Dear Athletes Helping Athletes,
I would like this grant so that I can get a handcycle. This handcycle would help me to achieve my goals in basketball and also help me to get stronger so I could race in marathons. If I got the handcycle I would use it well. I want to show my abilities by participating in marathons and other handcycling events. I was born with Spina Bifida. I do not see myself as a person with a disability. I see my disability as a way to show others my abilities. I have the ability to overcome challenges in everyday life and sports. By sharing my disability with others I educate my community and allow them to focus on my ability instead of my disability. My wheelchair basketball team does this by going to high schools and allowing "normal" people to use wheelchairs to play basketball. We hear many comments about what great abilities we have. I really hope I get this grant and thank you for taking the time to read my letter.

Thank you,
Dwayne L Murray Jr
December 13, 2005

Dear Sir/Madam:

This letter is to request assistance in acquiring a hand cycle for my son, Dwayne L Murray Jr. His nickname is "DJ". DJ was born on July 28, 1991 at Fort Ord, California, while I was in the US Army. He was born with Spina Bifida with Hydrocepholus and Bilateral clubfeet. He is 14 years old and in the 9th grade.

I am a single mother raising DJ on my own and attempting to provide everything I can to my son. In today's world, it is hard enough to be a single parent raising a "normal" child. Raising a child with a disability adds extra financial burden if you want your child to compete in sports. Sports equipment for a child with disabilities is extremely costly. I have attempted to provide everything for my son that he requires to lead a happy and healthy life.

When DJ was born, the doctors told me that he wouldn't be able to do a lot of "normal" activities. A social worker told me not to use the word "can't" with him. Because of these words, DJ has tried many different activities including karate, soccer, baseball, Cub Scouts, adaptive water and snow skiing, wheelchair tennis, kayaking, canoeing, wheelchair basketball, and hand cycling.

DJ tries his very best to excel at everything he does. Competing in wheelchair athletics has instilled a "can do" attitude in him. He shows this in his schoolwork, everyday life, and sports. He currently has a 3.1 grade point average in school, which I am very proud of.

DJ currently plays junior wheelchair basketball with the Sterling Heights Challengers. There are only 3 junior wheelchair teams in the state of Michigan. Therefore, we must travel to various states in order to compete. Besides the cost of travel and lodging, there is the extra cost of maintaining his sports chair in working condition. This, along with everyday living and medical expenses, puts me at a financial disadvantage.

DJ has played wheelchair basketball at both the Prep and Varsity levels. This is his fifth year with the team. While playing at the Prep level, he was awarded All Tournament Team and Most Valuable Player at regional tournaments. This past August, he was one of 30 student athletes selected to attend the Paralympic Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has also attended wheelchair basketball camp at the University of Whitewater, Wisconsin and the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

DJ has tried hand cycling and would like to add it to his athletic accomplishments. He would like to participate in marathons and other hand cycling competitions/events. In order to do this; he would have to train on a regular basis. It would be beneficial for DJ to have his own hand cycle to train and compete with.

DJ's goal is to attend college, become a world-class athlete, and participate in national and international competitions and, one day, the Paralympics.

Thank you in advance for your favorable consideration of this request.

Jean M Abbott

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