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Athlete’s track dreams sidelined by broken wheelchair

Published on

Tara Jeffrey

Abbey Leblanc needs to get back on track.

So says her mom, Mary, who’s desperately seeking a replacement racing wheelchair for her daughter with the track and field season already underway.

“I’m sad and disappointed for her,” Leblanc said of Abbey, 16, who’s worried she won’t reach her goals this year, with her bike damaged beyond repair.

The Alexander Mackenzie student was born premature, has cerebral palsy, and cannot get around without a walker or wheelchair.

Over the years, Abbey was teased for being ‘different’ and struggled to fit in, but last year things changed after a track coach suggested she give racing a try.

He introduced her to the 200-metre wheelchair race, and the rest was history.

She made it all the way to the OFSAA championships, earning a bronze medal.

This year, she had her sights set on silver.

“They took it to the Bicycle Shop and to Pathways but they couldn’t fix it,” Leblanc said of the bike, which is designed specifically for track and field racing.

“So I’m thinking we might be out of luck.”

Leblanc said she’s looked into purchasing a good, used chair, but the cost is upwards of $5,000.

Friends have suggested launching a ‘Go Fund Me’ page, but that’s not something she’s comfortable with, she said.

“I’m just not sure what to do … I don’t know if there’s some place that might have one we can borrow? I am stuck between a rock and a hard place,” she said. “We are open to ideas.”

Last year’s track and field season was a huge boost to Abbey’s confidence, Leblanc said, noting that watching last summer’s Paralympic Games inspired her daughter to dream even bigger.

“I don’t know if it’s too late, but I don’t want her to think there’s no hope,” Leblanc said. “Maybe somebody out there might have an answer.”

Anyone who has information or who might be able to help is asked to contact Mary Leblanc at 519-344-4503.

 

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