ALLENDALE, Mich. (WOOD) — Today was the last day of Mary Free Bed’s Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp, where kids from several states came to participate in adaptive sports.
In its 38th year, Mary Free Bed hosted 50 campers ages 7-18 from Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. They were able to play 15 different adaptive sports, including lacrosse, kayaking and basketball. The week-long camp started Monday and took place at Grand Valley State University in Allendale.
This year, 40 volunteers show up to run the camp. One of those volunteers is Gabe Denbraber, who has been coming to the camp for a decade.
“I always like to say that we’re able, we just like to do things differently. We just push on a chair, you guys use your two feet, some people may use a walker, a crutch, a cane, we just get around like that,” he said.
A captain for the under 23 U.S.A wheelchair basketball team, Denbraber played for Mary Free Bed from 2012 to 2018, where he was a back-to-back champion of different divisions. He says he enjoys coming back to a community that has given so much to him.
“It makes me realize … that I was once them. And hopefully I can show them that your wheelchair doesn’t define who you are, that you can go out in the world and do whatever you want to do — you’ve just got to put your mind to it,” said Denbraber.
For more information, visit the Mary Free Bed’s Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp website.