15-Year-Old Gets Big Surprise at Allina Health Courage Kenny
Antonio Vasquez got a big surprise at Allina Health Courage Kenny in Golden Valley on Friday.
“It doesn’t matter what the disability is. What matters most is who you are from the inside and the outside. Who you are,” said Antonio Vasquez.
The 15-year-old has spina bifida and was on hand at the Allina Health Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Center in Golden Valley for the Hartford Company’s donation of equipment to the sports programs that he enjoys there.
“One day we want everyone to be recognized for their abilities not their disabilities,” said a representative from the center as they kicked off the ceremony.
Antonio has an ability as well as passion for basketball, and the equipment he uses doesn’t come cheap. Little did Antonio know, he was selected as an athlete to get his own sports chair, thanks to a grant.
His mom kept the surprise a secret.
“Honestly, wholeheartedly, I’m speechless. And I’m sure he is. I had to keep it a secret for three months,” said Lilliana Vasquez, Antonio’s mom.
Antonio was happy with the chair.
“Thank you very much for this wonderful gift. For my disability, I never gave up even though my disability. I don’t let that stop me from living life,” said Antonio. “I very enjoy basketball very much and the team. I get to see my friends from the past.”
As soon as the speeches were finished, Antonio couldn’t wait to start living life in his new chair on the basketball court.
Antonio just turned 15 and recently moved up to being part of the Rolling Gophers. His former coach, A.J. Dordel, can attest to the teen’s love for the sport.
“He loved to shoot. He had a really nice soft, sweet touch shooting,” said Dordel.
In his new chair, Antonio looks to encourage others to never give up their passions.