Able-bodied compete in 'Wheelchair Games' fundraiser - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Able-bodied compete in 'Wheelchair Games' fundraiser

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GILBERT, Ariz. -

A Gilbert teen came up with a creative way to raise awareness about disabilities while raising money for paralyzed veterans. It's called "The Wheelchair Games."

The players on this court don't need to be in wheelchairs -- but today they hit the hardwood on wheels to support paralyzed veterans who need funding to get to the National Veteran Wheelchair Games in Florida.

"These are people that gave their ability to walk for us, they're the reason that they get to play for our sports," says Dylan Chambal, event organizer.

17-year-old Dylan Chambal came up with the idea as part of his biomedical capstone project at Campo Verde High School.

"This gives a chance for the able-bodied to come and participate and see what it's like to participate in wheelchair athletics."

He charges $15 for people to compete in track races, obstacle courses, shot put, and hand cycling -- and all of that money helps the veterans.

"I'm a paraplegic. I have the full use of my hands. Legs, no," says veteran John Tuzzolino.

Veteran John Tuzzolino lost movement in his lower body 20 years ago in a military vehicle accident. He competes in weightlifting and softball at the national games. He's thrilled to see these young students clearing up misconceptions about disabilities.

"I think it's a big deal cause like parents, a lot of times stay away from him cause it's like contagious or something. But I don't mind talking to kids because I think that's the best way to hit the next generation with, its ok to be disabled," says Tuzzolino.

Just spending a few minutes in a wheelchair was an experience I'll never forget, and that's exactly what Dylan Chambal was hoping for. It is a lot harder than it looks.

Chambal hopes that this tradition will continue at Campo Verde High School after he graduates.


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