We always love to share the amazing things Bridge II Sports athletes are achieving in life…and this is a BIG one!

This past month, Michelle Ballasiotes, an avid BIIS cyclist, earned the Student Leadership, Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Award from the Southern Association of Allied Health Deans for her monumental efforts and initiatives to advocate for pediatric stroke and all people with disabilities.  Check out more about the award and all of her involvement here.

Michelle, who has right side paralysis due to pediatric stroke, is pursuing her passion for inclusion and integration for people with disabilities as a Masters student in Occupational Therapy at the University of North Carolina.

We are grateful that Michelle has used her energetic force to add  Bridge II Sports into her advocacy repertoire. She lives by example staying active and sharing the importance of sport wherever she goes.

Michelle shares how she discovered BIIS and what it has meant to her, especially this past year:

 “I first found out about Bridge to Sports about 3 years ago. I saw that they had adapted cycling and I wanted to try it out since I have never been successful at riding a two-wheeled bike. It took a few tries, but we eventually found the best bike for me and I haven’t looked back! All of the staff were super nice and made sure that I was comfortable. They pushed me just the right amount and I realized how much my body is capable of doing. I look forward to every Saturday that I can ride with the crew! 

Once quarantine started in March, I realized that I wanted a way to stay active on a more regular basis. I was looking for a way to get out of my apartment. That’s when I reached out to Wes and asked if I could rent a tricycle. I am so glad I did!
I’ve gone on many socially distant rides with friends and just enjoyed nature’s beauty on my own. Since quarantine started, Bridge II Sports formed a sub group known as the Lowriderz, people who ride recumbent tricycles or handcycles. Lowrider Tony made us some awesome t-shirts repping a new logo! We each had a goal to ride 100 miles during the Virtual Madness Challenge and I’m happy to say that with the support of the Lowriderz, I made it happen!

Bridge to Sports is a community that welcomes people of all ability levels and makes everyone feel at home. They have become my family.”

Congratulations Michelle! We are honored to be on this journey with you as we keep pedaling forward one ride at a time advocating for people with disabilities!