CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WVEC) -- Rebecca Rollick was born with a rare disease called Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita that affects her joints and muscles.
As a baby, she wore casts on her legs and has had 6 leg and feet surgeries in her lifetime.
Unable to run, play and jump like most kids, at the age of 10 Rollick discovered hand cycling. Now 15, she races about 20 times per year on her specialized bike.
“It’s basically freedom for me since I’ve always been really slow. It just made me feel like I was more than my disability,” said Rollick.
Several organizations like Preston’s March for Energy, Ainsley’s Angels, and Challenged Athlete Foundation helped Rollick buy a specialized bike and compete in races across the country.
Rollick is using her racing as a platform to raise awareness about the need for adaptive sports for kids with disabilities.
She recently participated in a program called the “Mighty Monarchs” at Old Dominion University. The program allows kids with physical disabilities and visual impairments to play sports.
“It shows that I’m not alone and that there are other kids out there that also like doing adaptive sports and being included,” said Rollick.
Rollick’s mother Jessie Rollick said Rebecca also raises money to help buy adaptive bikes for children with disabilities.
“We do make bracelets and sell them at a shop called Kitsch in Ghent and we turn around and donate that to other kids getting their own adaptive bikes,” said Rollick.
Rollick said she’s found something she loves in hand cycling and hopes to share that joy with others with a simple message.
“They should never give up. Life is hard but it can always get better,” said Rollick.