Cerebral Palsy Patient Swims 50-Meters and Inspires a Community
Swimming is an activity many children enjoy, but for Rebecca Reinisch, a 16-year-old cerebral palsy victim, it’s something she loves. That’s why on July 2nd, Rebecca participated in a swim meet and was able to swim the length of the 50-meter pool with the help of her mother and coach.
Trouble at birth
Rebecca was born 3 months premature and weighed only 1 pound, 13 ounces. She was diagnosed with quadriplegia cerebral palsy, which affects all four limbs. Her first surgery was when she was three, and since that time she has had ten more, for a total of 11 surgeries in 16 years.
Recreational and therapeutic purposes
Despite her physical limitations, Rebecca loves the water, which is both recreational and therapeutic for her. At a young age, Rebecca started swimming lessons. The swim lessons led to her aspiring to be on the swim team. Asking her fifth-grade teacher, Diedra Vinson, now the swim coach, Rebecca found an ally for her cause.
Vinson has a daughter, Jordan, who has also bonded with Rebecca over the years. Jordan will swim with Rebecca, giving her someone to race against, even though Jordan swims the backward freestyle. Rebecca’s little sister, Raeanne, also swims with the team.
Inspiring others around her
Rebecca’s determination to swim the 50-meteres has been an inspiration to everyone around her, especially Vinson who claims she wouldn’t have coached another year – due to health issues – but Rebecca caused her to come back.
“Other people have come up to me and told me how inspirational it is for them to see Rebecca swim,” Vinson said. “It touches everybody’s heart, and it touches my heart that she wants to be like everyone else.”