TOGETHER WE IMPROVE LIVES
You’ve never met a happier young man in your life. I guarantee it. And when you meet Danny, you’ll agree. When Danny was born, there was no movement at all in his tiny body. His parents DeJaun and Danny Sr. weren’t aware that Danny would be born with Arthrogryposis, a disease that affects almost every joint in Danny’s body, affecting his movement and mobility.So, they were shocked to see their beautiful baby boy lying motionless.
That was eight years and many medical procedures ago, and today Danny is playing t-ball with other kids his age. He navigates the ball ﬁeld in a super-fast, fantastic wheelchair that is trimmed in the same shade of green as his Y jersey.
You may be surprised that a little boy who can barely move his arms and legs is playing sports, but his parents are not. Early on, DeJaun, who coaches high school volleyball, and Danny Sr. who is equally as athletic, knew that they wanted their son to participate in team sports.
“We have never thought of Danny as being any different than other kids,” said DeJaun. “We know that he has physical limitations, but we also know that he needs to be given the same opportunities as other children his age.” Danny Sr. added, “I knew that I wanted to play ball with my son, and no matter what, we were going to make that happen.
”After trying to ﬁnd a special needs soccer or t-ball team, and coming up short, Danny’s parents contacted the Y, where Danny’s uncle Rufus served as a volunteer. The idea of forming a team that included Danny became a reality after Johnathan Teal, Executive Director of the North Side Y, and his staff worked out the details to make it happen.
“We were happy to see Danny playing ball just like other kids his age,” said Johnathan. “And to see him smile when he hits the ball is exhilarating.
”Danny’s parents and his uncle eagerly volunteered to coach the team, which consists of many family members, including Danny’s sister, Demy and several of his cousins. The Y has been fantastic,” said DeJaun. “The staff were more than willing to make this happen for Danny, and we even received ﬁnancial assistance when we needed it the most."
As for Danny, he's partial to the sport of basketball and particularly likes Kobe Bryant, but is excited to play t-ball again next year at the Y.
After the last game of the season, the players receive their team medals as they exchange high-fives with each other. Danny also gets a big hug from his mom and dad before he begins giving his friends rides on the back of his super-fast, fantastic green wheelchair!