2017 Courage to Shine™ Lisha Martinez & Adam Young Award – Spencer Daniel Kimbro – June 10 2017
Spencer Daniel Kimbro was presented with the 2017 Courage to Shine™ Lisha Marttinez & Adam Young Award on Saturday June 10, 2017.
Spencer is a 16-year-old born with classic bladder exstrophy, cloacal exstrophy, spina birida, and many skeletal anomalies. After the family was told Spencer would not survive to delivery, Spencer came into the world on June 21, 2000 in Spokane, Washington, weighing 4 pounds 12 ounces. He was flown to Seattle Children’s Hospital in the early hours of June 22nd to see Doctor Grady and Doctor Mitchell.
This begin the long series of surgeries to help Spencer survive. Dr Grady Informed his family that he would be Spencer’s “quarterback” and ensure Spencer received nothing but the best. The first four months of Spencer’s life was spent in and out of Seattle Children’s to do his initial colostomy, back surgeries to repair his spinal column damage caused by the spina bifida, which also resulted in the loss of the use of his legs and a surgery to bring the two halves of his inside our bladder back together. His bladder remained inside out and on the outside of his body until his complete closure in December 2000.
Over the next decade, Spencer would endure close to 30 surgeries and procedures to maintain and repair his body. He was fitted for his first wheelchair when he was 4 years old, and he hasn’t stopped rolling since then.
Growing up, his family maintained a “normal” life, Spenser, along with hist family, spent most every weekend watching his sisters play soccer, camping, fishing and hunting.
Things took a turn for the worse in January 2010. Spencer was growing weaker, weighing or more 35 pounds and in extreme pain. An emergency trip to Seattle Children’s resulted in major surgery and Spencer flat-lining during surgery 3 times. His family was called down to the operating room to say good-bye to him. But, again, Spencer proved them all wrong.
After 4 weeks in the hospital. Spencer went home to continue living. That spring, Spencer was able to begin playing little league baseball in Mouse Lake, Washington, He was finally out there on the field playing baseball, something he had longed for , for years.
In the summer of 2010, during his yearly checkups, his family was given the devastating prediction by his orthopedic doctor that Spencer would most likely not survived beyond the age of 12. His chest/ribs had not been expanding and this would effectively act as a boa constrictor and crush his internal organs. His lung capacity was already below 70% and decreasing every year. His family was shocked but Spencer was determined to prove the doctors wrong. And he did.
In November 2011, Spencer got his first chance at adaptive sports when he met an adaptive sports group in Spokane. Spencer was invited to try wheelchair basketball and he never looked back. Two weeks later he was off to his first basketball tournament. In the spring of 2012 Spencer was introduced to wheelchair track. The physical activity changed his life. His body responded by growing and expanding. His lung capacity went back to 100%. The new-found independence and health from athletics brought Spencer to the biggest decision he had made for himself, to have his Mitrofanoff surgery with Dr. Grady in August of 2012. He will tell you this was one of the best decisions of his life.
June of 2015. Spencer competed on the US Paralympic Track and Field National Championship in St. Paul, Minnesota, and his performance there earned him a place on the Team USA roster. Spencer was also selected to go to the Netherlands for a junior international track event that mouth, finishing first in all his events. As part of Team USA, he represented the US at the Para Pam American games in Toronto that summer, followed by his appearance at the International Paralympic Committee World’s Track and Field Championships in Doha, Qatar. He missed out on going to the Paralympics in Rio by one place. Spencer is currently in track for his high school and will be traveling this summer for the international events.
High School, and the personal confidences he has gained , has allowed Spencer to meet new friends. Today he has a night group of friends that enjoy fishing together, going out to eat, supporting each other at sporting events, and just hanging out at the house together. This last winter, at the National Wheelchair Basketball Championship, Spenser’s team fished 13th in the nation and Spencer caught the eye of many college basketball coaches. His dream is to go to Alabama to play basketball and earn a business degree. His wants to became a successful business owner.
Spencer would like people to see, from his example, that growing up with a disability can be difficult, but that a disability doesn’t define who you, you define who you are.
© 2017 Courage to Shine & Spencer Daniel Kimbro
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