Thursday, January 23, 2014

Adaptive Cross Country

Long-time followers of the Morningstar Happenings know that the ever-fabulous Miss WanYing was born with Amniotic Banding Syndrome (ABS) causing limb differences in both hands and her right foot.  The good doctors at Shriners Hospital were able to use their skills to loosen the fingers of her right hand, leaving her with some shorter fingers and a very short thumb on her right hand.

WanYing has learned to make her hands work for her and it's unusual for her to need any help in coping with her unique digits.  She can do up buttons and zippers, use forks and pencils, climb ladders, even hang on monkey bar rings.

But now that WanYing is getting big enough to ski on her own, pole grips have become an issue.  I mean, poles are a big enough challenge for your average almost-five year old, but combining the normal learning curve with a shorter finger and thumb was leaving our girl frustrated.

Enter the good folks at the Sundance Nordic Center!

We were up at the Nordic Center a few weeks ago with some friends and one of their kids had a broken finger. Instead of equipping him with regular grips that require the user to grasp with thumb and fingers, always-awesome Cami set him up with skate grips that Velcroed around his cast. And as soon as I saw that, my eyes got very wide and very excited - I had never considered using skate grips with WanYing!

We chatted with the Nordic center folks about our options and Sam and Cami, the Nordic Center saints, scoured their supplies to find grips that were small enough for WanYing.  They mounted the grips to their smallest set of poles and, voila! perfect, custom-made WanYing poles!

Big thanks to the fab folks at the Sundance Nordic Center for finding a creative solution for WanYing's adaptive cross country needs! Today, learning how to use poles, tomorrow Olympic biathlon!  Or, at the least, many years of fun family outings.

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