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Rancho Wheelchair Sports Program
Developed in 1987 at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center,
Rancho’s Las Floristas Wheelchair Sports Program currently provides
approximately 40 Rancho patients with the opportunity to participate in
success-oriented, competitive wheelchair sports activities. With sports
and activities geared to patients with all degrees of disabilities,
the program reaches out to athletes will varying levels of disabling
illnesses and injuries.
The Las Floristas Wheelchair Sports Program aspires to assist each
participant in the development of lifetime physical fitness behaviors,
which can improve the overall quality of life and increase longevity.
Not only does each section emphasize physical and skill development,
but social and cognitive development are also emphasized.
To this end, each participant must be attending and doing well in
school. Seasoned athletes serve as role models/peer tutors for our
younger or newly injured participants.
Many of Rancho’s wheelchair sports teams and athletes are among
the best in the nation. More importantly, however, our athletes are
becoming educated, goal-oriented, and productive members of society.
Children from to 12 years of age participate in the Youth Sport and
Fun Section, where the focus is on fun and learning the basics rather
than competition. Another important aspect of development for the
children in this section is the evolution of teamwork, which they
learn from watching and emulating the behavior of older athletes.
The Adolescent Sport and Fitness Section serves young athletes
from 13 to 17 years of age. Rancho’s teams have done extremely well
over the years in this “junior” category, where setting and reaching
goals, competition and teamwork are the key aspects of the program.
Many of Rancho’s athletes choose to remain in the program beyond
their 18th birthday, continuing to play on highly successful
wheelchair sports teams while serving as role models for the younger
- Basketball (4 teams)
- Hockey (2 teams)
- Arena Football (2 teams)
- Over the Line
- Junior Rugby
What Our Athletes Say About the Wheelchair Sports Program:
“The Rancho Wheelchair Sports Program has provided me with the
opportunity to do what I was born to do…be an athlete.” - Ian Pierson
“Wheelchair sports make life fun.”Jose and Angelica, Danny’s
parents, say that “wheelchair sports have made Danny a happy child and they
cannot imagine what his life would be like without the Rancho Wheelchair Sports
Program.” — Danny Marvilla
“Rancho is everything to me! I have learned through my friends in
the sports program that the only real limitations in life are in the minds of
other people.” — Daniel Nong
“Through wheelchair sports, I have made so many friends, gained
physical strength, developed mental toughness and learned that I can do
anything!” — Steven Elicker
“The Rancho Wheelchair Sports Program has made me whole again.
Now I have the confidence, courage and determination to compete not only
in wheelchair sports, but also in life.” — Tylor Vickers
The program has been directed for the last 15 years by Lisa Hilborn,
a credentialed teacher who holds a Master of Arts degree in Adapted Physical
Education. In addition to an extensive coaching background, the director is
an accomplished athlete who competed at the international level in softball,
and played intercollegiate basketball, soccer, and softball. The assistant
sport coach has a degree in Adapted Physical Education and is pursuing a
2005 Youth Athlete of the Year — Tylor Vickers
The Rancho Wheelchair Sports Program is proud to honor Tylor Vickers
as the Las Floristas Youth Athlete of the Year. Tylor has shown
extreme dedication and perseverance as a member of the Junior Rancho
Renegades Basketball team. As the years have passed, his role on this
team has become increasingly vital. This year he is our first-string center.
Tylor is a dedicated athlete who is committed to do the best he can in
every minute of each practice and game. Tylor aspires to play wheelchair
basketball in college while majoring in art.
Through competing in the Rancho Wheelchair Sports Program for
the past seven years, Tylor has gained confidence in everyday activities.
He does not fear competing with his able-bodied peers and he is no longer
intimidated by the uncertainty of new experiences. In fact, Tylor is
a member of his high school wrestling team. On this team, he has
made many friends, gained an incredible amount of strength and
earned the “Most Inspirational Athlete Award”.
Tylor is also a very selfless teenager. Last year he was awarded
$200.00 for earning the most money in a wrestling fundraiser.
He was given the opportunity to spend this money on anything he
wanted and he chose to donate it to the Rancho Wheelchair Sport Page
in the Las Floristas Headdress Ball book. Unbeknownst to anyone, he
inconspicuously placed the money in the donation envelope and moved on.
Struck by how much cash came from one person, we wanted to thank
whoever it was. After finally tracking it to him, he simply said,
“The money should be used for something that really matters and
it is really important to thank the people who have made such a
big difference in my life”. Dave and Wendy, Tylor’s parents,
say “Thank God for Las Floristas – Wheelchair Sports is the
best thing that ever happened to Tylor.” Tylor is yet another
individual whose life has been so positively impacted by the love
and support of the ladies of Las Floristas and the Rancho Wheelchair Sports
About Las Floristas:
The Las Floristas Children’s Charities, a nonprofit, all-volunteer
organization, was started more than 65 years ago by a group of civic-minded
women who wished to help children and adolescents with physical disabilities
lead more productive lives. Las Floristas’ signature Headdress Ball has
given it broad visibility in the philanthropic community for nearly seven
decades. Las Floristas has exclusively supported Rancho Los Amigos
National Rehabilitation Center Pediatrics activities for more than
30 years, and has provided more than $7 million in donations to
help the children of Rancho.
The Wheelchair Sports Program was started more than 15 years ago
and has been fully funded by Las Floristas since then, with the singular
exception of a generous grant from the Amateur Athletic Foundation several
years ago. The Rancho Wheelchair Sports Program is the only comprehensive
wheelchair sports program in California that caters to youth and is
completely free of charge for participants.
We are very thankful to the Ladies of Las Floristas for everything
they have done to make possible the Rancho Wheelchair Sports Program.
For more information, please contact:
Cell: (949) 201-6975
Pediatrics: (562) 401-7847
By E-mail: WCSports@rancho.org
Page last updated November 28, 2011
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