This blog is written by Maya’s parents to share her amazing story with our readers and how even at such a young age she is developing into a potential wheelchair Paralympic champion – enjoy
A bit about Maya Ratcliffe
Maya is a 5 years old full-time wheelchair user who loves school, swimming, riding her trike, dancing and going to the skate park. Her favourite athletes are Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and Hannah Cockroft
Maya started using a self-propel wheelchair from a very young age. At 2 years old Maya had built up enough upper body strength to learn to army crawl and this was when her true spirit began to emerge. We knew from that point that she wasn’t going to let her disability or doctors’ prognosis stop her aiming high and achieving her dreams.
After wheelchair services said she was too young to self-propel we searched high and low for light weight wheelchairs that may be suitable and to our big surprise just a few days before her 3rd birthday we were gifted Maya’s first light-weight wheelchair from a lovely family who faced a similar battle. Maya soon got the hang of it and within a few weeks was whizzing around alphabet day nursery, Whittlesey, racing and chasing her friends. By the age of 4 she was completing independent fun runs, walks and events to raise money for charity including PGER fun run and Parallel at the Olympic park, London. This year at just 5 years old, Maya is raising money for local charities and is also fundraising for some small racing equipment by completing the Parallel 5 km event, Disneyland Paris 5 km race and the PGER as part of team We’re all mad here.
Maya has a busy sports and therapy programme where we incorporate the things she loves (mainly all things Disney) to work on her strength, flexibility, balance and coordination as well as her posture. Maya attends Alderman and Jacob’s Primary school, Whittlesey and with the help and support of her Physiotherapist they have developed an inclusive and varied programme for Maya to be involved in and enjoy at school.
Maya started wheelchair racing after we saw a Facebook post about free taster sessions being held with Nene valley harriers in Peterborough. We were a little unsure If Maya would be big enough to give it a go but thought what the harm in trying. If anything, we just thought it would be great for her to meet other people. We encourage Maya to live a life without limits and that anything is possible if she puts her mind to it. We like to encourage her to find the ‘Maya Way’ of doing the things she loves. Racing or ‘running’ as she calls it, is another way of achieving her dreams. Wheelchair racing has also opened up lots of opportunities to try other sports including an inclusive sports day and local wheelchair accessible activities. Since attending the Taster sessions Maya has been practicing hard, learning new skills and her confidence is soaring. There are also talks of Maya competing at her first ever wheelchair racing event on the 8th October at the PGER in Peterborough just 4 days before her birthday. What a way to celebrate turning 6!
Maya says, ‘I love racing with my friends! Racing is fun. I love going really fast and winning!’
Follow Maya’s progress at: www.mayaswonderland.weebly.com
Help Maya reach her dreams at: w HYPERLINK “http://www.gofundme.com/mayas-paraolympian-dream”ww.gofundme.com/mayas-paraolympian-dream