A Michigan family is getting ready to launch the 2nd season of sled hockey for children with disabilities in Taylor.
The program aims to give kids a chance to grow their athletic abilities and build self-esteem.
In fact, 11-Year-old Skyler Donet is not only a testament to the program's success but is also the reason behind the initiative.
Skyler's Sled Hockey journey started 6 years ago.
"When I go against the other team, I always take them out against the boards when I play defense," said Skyler Donet.
Skyler has also rubbed shoulders with Team USA, something mom, Ashley proudly captured on her phone.
"It's amazing to see her get out there and not have limitations. There is nothing stopping her, holding her back from her peers, it's not easy. She has to put a lot of effort in," said Ashley Donet.
Skyler has a birth defect called Spina Bifida. Ashley still remembers when doctors told her that Skyler would never be able to walk.
"There is nothing in the world like seeing how sled hockey has improved her quality of life not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well. It really built her confidence," said Ashley.
That’s why Ashely and her husband Derek started the Sled Hockey program. To give kids with disabilities a chance to lead an active lifestyle and play their favorite sport.
"Just because a child is in a wheelchair it doesn’t mean that you need to treat them any differently than you would a different child, they have the same wants, need, desires, goals you just have to help them achieve it in a different way," said Ashely.
Last season, the program saw 14 kids join the Belle Tire Bombers team. The trial for the upcoming season starts this Saturday with training scheduled every Sunday at the Taylor Sportsplex.
"I cry every time there is a new experience, there is not like it in the world to see the smile on her face or the pride she has after she accomplishes something new or being able to score a goal with her favorite Paralympian," said Ashley.
Sled Hockey for children with disabilities is free and open to all ages. For more information and registration details send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org