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Florida Athletes Prepare for National Veteran Wheelchair Games in Tampa
Date:6/17/2013

in the Paralympic Games of 1988, 1992 and 1996 and overall, medaled in 11 events. Then in 2006, she was diagnosed with yet another challenge: breast cancer, a disease that left her weaker and more tired than ever before in her life. She had read about how breast cancer survivors used rowing as a way to regain strength and endurance, so as part of her rehabilitation, she took up rowing and this natural athlete rose to the top of her sport. In 2007 and 2008, she took gold at the U.S. Rowing National Championships. In 2008, she was a Paralympian once again in Beijing earning a bronze medal in rowing. The two medalists ahead of her were half her age.

During the 2013 Games, Schwanger will be competing in handcyling, softball, 9-ball and wheelchair slalom. This role model sees herself as a mentor and cheerleader for other National Veteran Wheelchair Games athletes. “The Games are a chance for Veterans to get back into life,” Schwanger said. “They showed me I could compete again, have fun, smile again. And that’s what wheelchair sports can do for others just like me. I’m so looking forward to the Tampa Games.”

Admission to the Games is free and the public is invited to attend and cheer on all the athletes. Also, about 3,000 volunteers are needed the entire week of the Games. Volunteers can be as young as age 14 and will have a variety of duties including setting up equipment at sporting venues, serving meals, monitoring buses used to transport athletes to various locations, serving as ‘Fans in the Stands,’ and other tasks.

For a detailed schedule and a volunteer application, visit the national website at http://www.wheelchairgames.va.gov.

The Games are co-presented by the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter o
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