You wouldn’t think about a wheelchair-bound person with cerebral palsy enjoying bowling. But then you haven’t met Ross Martin. Martin, 47, lives in a group home. But come Saturday morning, you’ll find him at the AMF Lanes in Boynton Beach, Florida with his bowling league, the Heavenly Angels. He’s there every Saturday from 9-11, ready to have some fun.
How does he bowl? He uses a device that allows him to push the ball up a ramp. As his father, who is on his bowling team, said, “Ross is an accomplished bowler and can throw a ball with curves. Last week he bowled a 174 and 177 – he’s got it figured out.”
When asked what the league means to him, Ross (with interpretation from his father) said, “It gives me a chance to get out of my day-to-day routine and gives me a chance to spend time with my friends.”
He’s also been involved with the Special Olympics since he was seven. As he said about bowling, “I love bowling. I like the group and it’s good therapy.”
The coaches include Ross’ father, Gary Greenstein and Sherry Wills. Wills has a son, Daniel, who also have cerebral palsy and is also in the league.
As Greenstein explained, “It’s difficult for the handicapped. Many of the state-funded programs have been cut or reduced. A little hug, a handshake, buying them a soda – it means so much. They talk about it all week. The scores don’t mean anything. If they hit a pin, everyone jumps up and down and cheers.”
Greenstein continued, “It’s a labor of love. Once you’re there, you never want to go back.”
The Miller Family in La Porte, Indiana is definitely getting its Christmas wishes this year. Their daughter, Avonlea (6) has cerebral palsy and can have extensive seizure as a result of her condition. Parents Ty and Rachel applied three years ago for a service dog through 4 Paws for Ability and have finally had their wish granted.
They will soon be traveling to Ohio to pick up the one year old golden retriever who has been trained to be at Avonlea’s side and to know how to spot when a seizure is coming on. The dog will also be Avonlea’s companion and her friend.
In addition, Avonlea’s visiting nurse, Nancy Schweler, told the family about the Make A Wish Foundation. Her own son with special needs was granted a wish from the foundation 14 years ago and she wanted to have the Millers to have a dream come true as well. Interestingly, the wish that the Miller family asked for was a 14 foot pool where she can get therapeutic treatments and swim in warm water.
While father Ty said, “Disney World is a popular wish. And at first we thought we would go with that — a trip. But then we noticed her positive response in the water.”
The swim spa was just installed. As Ty said, “She loves it. We couldn’t be more thankful. She will get use out of it multiple times a week.” The spa, in addition to helping Avonlea with her muscles, is also a great way for her to bond with her sister.
As Ty explained, “At her therapy sessions, Novelle isn’t allowed to be with her but here Novelle can be in the water with her sister.”