gmhTODAY 01 gmhToday Mar Apr 2015 - Page 51

time, Ella was in the company of many people who understood the trials faced by amputees and she made fast friends with a girl named Katelyn. Another organization, the Challenged Athletes Foundation, set Ella up with a mentor who had the same condition as Ella. They also brought Ella and her family to their fundraiser event in San Diego, where they presented Ella with a new running leg. It was there that Ella learned about the Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program (BORP) in Berkley, a place that has changed her life. BORP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people with physical disabilities through sports and recreation programs. They have the only youth sports program in Northern California, which provides the same competitive opportunities as regular sports. From her very first visit, Ella was hooked. She joined their wheelchair basketball team and has been dedicated to the sport ever since. Every Saturday she travels to Berkeley, where she plays for 6 hours straight. She has formed strong bonds with her teammates and loves practicing and competing with them. “She’s a great team- mate,” says her coach, Trooper Johnson. “She shows up with a great smile and sense of energy. She comes in and works her butt off.” And her hard work certainly shows! Ella is already playing in BORP’s varsity team as their youngest member. Not only has BORP given her new friends and a larger network of support, but it has also boosted Ella’s confidence. “She’s proud of being an amputee now,” her father says. BORP’s wheelchair basketball team competes both locally and out of state. To help offset the cost of travel, they host the Roll ’n’ Shoot, a fundraising event where able bodied people compete against BORP’s team. It’s a fun way to raise funds and those who participate gain a better understanding of the BORP kids’ everyday lives. On March 28th, BORP will be hosting a Roll ‘n’ Shoot at Christopher High School from 9 am to 4 pm. Ella and her family hope everyone in the community will come and participate. G M H T O D A Y M A G A Z I N E MARCH / APRIL 2015 Thanks to her parents, BORP, and everyone who has shown their support, Ella has a bright future ahead of her. Who knows what amazing things this year will bring! 51