“If you were to tell me you could give me back my legs, I don’t know if I would do it because I’m happy the way I am right now.”
Cindy Ouellet was always an active girl. During her childhood, she was a daring skier and a promising soccer player. Things changed quickly, however, when she was diagnosed with bone cancer at the young age of 12.
After years of treatment and chemo, Cindy was left with severe nerve damage in both legs. Her left leg in particular has lost all feeling and movement. Though she was confined to a wheelchair, Cindy still had that competitive desire in her.
It was in 2005 that a physical therapist suggested she try wheelchair basketball. It didn’t take long for Cindy to fall in love with the sport. Two years later, her team won the gold medal at the Canada Games.
That’s not to say wheelchair basketball is an easy game. Though technically not a contact sport, wheelchair basketball has left Cindy with dislocated shoulders, a broken hand, broken fingers, and even a skull fracture.
It has also taken her around the world and given her a full ride scholarship to the University of Alabama.
In 2008, Cindy participated in the Paralympics in Beijing, China as well as the World Championships of 2010 in Birmingham, England.
With the 2012 Paralympics in London quickly approaching, Cindy is preparing to compete on the world’s court once again. This time, Cindy believes she has a real chance at the gold medal.
And it’s because of all of this that Cindy truly loves the life she is currently living.
“I fell in love with the sport,” Cindy says, “and I’ve met wonderful people and had so many wonderful experiences in the past five years that I would have never gotten if I had been able bodied.”
Though she can technically move along with crutches, Cindy chooses the wheelchair because it’s easier and faster. If you see her on the court, you’ll probably agree.
The 2012 Paralympics start on August 29 in London, England. We’ll have more information on the event as it comes.