GROVE CITY – Brynn Adams and her family have been so grateful for the support they’ve received as the 10-year-old Grove City girl navigates life with a rare neurological disorder.
They’re ready to pay it forward and recently formed a nonprofit organization, Hope Through Sports, which will help athletes with disabilities play sports.
“This is Brynn’s way of saying ‘thank you’ to everyone. She wants to give back,” said her mother Allie Adams.
Brynn was diagnosed in October with hereditary spastic paraparesis, a rare, progressive disease. She often uses a wheelchair or crutches, and her family is dedicated to helping her; that includes her father Chris and three sisters, Kailyn, Addie and Maddie.
She loves fast-pitch softball, a sport she had to quit as the disease impacted her ability to walk. She was a pitcher, and her symptoms would make it difficult, or even dangerous, for her to continue to play.
“The day we sat her down to tell her was nothing short of heartbreaking. She was crushed,” Mrs. Adams said.
It wasn’t long before Brynn fell in love with a new sport – sled hockey. Players are strapped to sleds and use their arms to propel themselves around the ice rink.
She’s made some great friends through that program, which is run by the Mighty Penguins. They play at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry Township, and it has brought Brynn and her family so much hope and joy.
“The look on her face, I will never forget it,” Mrs. Adams said of Brynn’s first time on the ice.
The family has been fortunate to have so much love and support from the Mighty Penguins, other sled hockey families, doctors and other medical professionals, and their friends, family and community.
Brynn wants athletes with disabilities to be able to buy hockey sleds and other adaptive sports equipment, go to camp, travel with their team to a tournament, pay registration fees, and more.
Being able to continue to compete in a sport lifts her up, and she wants others to have the same experience with Hope Through Sports.
The organization is planning its first fundraiser for this fall, and they’re looking into sponsorships that will help as many athletes with disabilities as possible.
There will be a grant and approval process. Parents will have to fill out forms for athletes under 18, and the applicant will have to include information from their doctor, Mrs. Adams said.
Hope Through Sports is seeking sponsors, donations and volunteers to help things move forward.
For more information, visit “Hope Through Sports” on Facebook. A website is in the works.