Author: Stephanie Medlin
Liam Jeffers is a student at Wasatch Adaptive Sports (WAS) who was born with spina bifida. He first started skiing and biking with WAS when he was 4 years old. Liam’s mom, Wendhy, shared with the Gregory Team about their experience with WAS and the difference it has made for their family.
Wendhy shared that when Liam was born, his doctor told his parents that they should know that it was going to be a hard road ahead. ”I wish future me could have told me at that moment, ‘it’s going to be okay!’”, shared Wendhy. “He’s been a miracle. We never thought he would ever get the chance to do the things he’s doing today.”
Wendhy, his mom, first found out about WAS through one of Liam’s friends Cole. Cole’s mom posted a picture from their lessons with WAS on social media and when Wendhy saw it, she reached out and got connected.
Liam started to bike and ski with WAS the following year. “Because I hadn’t seen another kid like him on an upright bike, I didn’t know that it was possible. We came to WAS and they set him up with these adaptive pedals,” exclaimed Wendhy. “Biking has now become an everyday part of our life.”
When they started skiing, Liam first started out using a slider to help with his balance. A slider offers stand-up skiers balance assistance. Skiers can hold on to a mounted frame that clicks into separate skis and appears like a walker on skis. Peter, WAS’s founder, taught Liam’s next lesson and could see that he didn’t need a slider and could learn to ski on his own. After working at it for the past few years, Liam now tells everybody, ”I can stand up ski by myself!”
This meant everything for Wendhy and her husband. “My husband and I fell in love while snowboarding. We would go to Brian Head Resort every January to go snowboarding and when we had Liam we thought we would have to give up the sport as a family. But then we found WAS, and Liam is skiing now! I remember being in tears saying ‘We’re going to be a family that snowboards/skis!’”
Liam bikes, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, skies, and now snowboards with WAS! Wendhy shared that they keep coming back because “We love the people and the excitement everyone gets when they see Liam. To him, he feels like he’s just going to play with his friends.”
“It’s given him the opportunity to not be defined by his diagnosis but to push his limits. We come out here to promote a healthy, active lifestyle. We just want him when he’s older to have a love for it.”
Wendhy shared that recreating with WAS has helped him to develop “the confidence to go for it. We moved here to give him a better quality of life and with WAS, we can’t believe all of the opportunities we have to get outside with Liam as a family!”
Wasatch Adaptive Sports is a nonprofit based out of Utah offering recreational opportunities to children, adults, and veterans with adaptive needs. To learn more about how you or someone you may know can get involved with Wasatch Adaptive Sports visit wasatchadaptivesports.org.