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Andrew Skinner May 22, 2019 News, Videos

Take a look at these awesome videos from Spectrum News 1 SoCal highlighting our recent Wheelchair Sports Festival!

This first one features our wonderful Ambassador Norma Villar as she celebrated her injury anniversary by experiencing scuba at our recent Wheelchair Sports Festival.

The second one is a fun video showcasing our Festival’s Powerchair Rodeo featuring none-other than the amazing Bobby Rohan, Larry Dunn, and more.

SoCal Woman Celebrates Triumph Over Paralysis By Scuba Diving

By Kristen Lago

PUBLISHED 2:14 PM ET May. 20, 2019 SANTA CLARITA, Calif.

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. - You wouldn’t think the anniversary of a life-altering injury would be something to celebrate, but that’s exactly what took place at the eighth Annual Adaptive Wheelchair Sports Festival.

The event is put on every year by the Triumph Foundation, and gives athletes from across Southern California the chance to triumph over their disabilities.

This year, Pasadena resident Norma Villar took part in the festival. She celebrated the five-year anniversary of a surgery that resulted in her paralysis.

“Ever since my injury, I've thought let’s just experiment life, let’s explore," she said. "And I’m doing so many things that I never did prior to my injury.”

One of those things is scuba diving. In partnership with a group called Dive Heart, Villar got the chance to go under the water — to swim for the first time in years.

“I literally felt that I wasn’t paralyzed," Villar explained. "For however long I was underwater, I felt free. I couldn’t believe I did this.”

It's just one of many activities she's been involved with through Triumph. But it was not an easy road to get here.

Five years ago, Villar began experiencing symptoms like drop foot and dizziness. After a few doctors visits, she was diagnosed with a congenital defect in her spine.

Although her surgeons reassured her it would be an easy fix, several back-to-back surgeries left her an incomplete paraplegic.

"I hated myself and I hated my life. I hated everything about what happened to me," she said.

Fast-forward five years later and you'll meet a very different Villar. She's excited and determined to take on new challenges, inspiring others along the way.

"What I’m doing here," Villar said, "is showing the newly injured people that life does go on and despite our circumstances we can conquer the world still."


Powerchair Rodeo at our Wheelchair Sports Festival


Thank you Kristen Lago for telling our stories.  Follow her @kristenmlago

Relive the amazing, all-inclusive weekend in our video:

Then CLICK HERE to enjoy a full report on the 2019 Wheelchair Sports Festival featuring a bucketload of incredible photos and additional videos you're going to love to share on your social media.

It may be the best news you'll read all day.

Then don't forget to purchase your tickets for the Casino Night fundraiser and get ready to let'em roll!


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