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Wheelchair Palooza event draws hundreds of wheelchair users

SANDY, Utah — There was a large crowd and lots of cheering Saturday at a skate park in Sandy.

A professional wheelchair athlete was doing some tricks at the annual Wheelchair Palooza event.

It was canceled last year because of COVID-19 concerns.

The whole idea behind Wheelchair Palooza is to bring wheelchair users together to share stories and life tips, but most importantly, let them know they’re not alone in their struggles.

It takes skill to do the kind of skate park tricks you see on television.

Skaters at Lone Peak Park in Sandy kept trying Saturday afternoon, as they do almost every day.

What really impressed them, though, were the tricks 6-year-old Porter Greene was pulling — not so much because of his fearless attitude, but because he was doing them in his wheelchair.

“It’s just a part of me. That’s all,” he said with a shrug of his shoulders.

His chair has been a part of him his whole life.

Porter’s mother said he has a medical condition similar to spina bifida, but it has never stopped him from doing anything.

“I like going fast,” said Porter as he zoomed by.

For as many tricks as he knows, though, he saw someone at the skate park who might be able to teach him new tricks.

“Hey Wheelz, look at me,” Porter shouted.

Aaron Fotheringham, also known as Wheelz, is a well-known wheelchair athlete.

He was at the skate park Saturday, helping the Wheelchair Palooza event to be a big success.

“Seeing all these kids out here having fun in the park, riding their wheelchairs, honestly, it just warms my heart,” said Fotheringham.

It wasn’t just skating, but also sports like lacrosse and basketball, or just doing fun activities.

“There are lots of struggles and things that we face and we go through on our own,” said Amanda King, who is the President of the Utah Adaptive Alliance. “But when we come together in groups, we meet other people and we realize we’re not alone in our struggles.”

Feeling like you’re not alone is what Wheelchair Palooza is all about.

“I’m not going to lie, when we got here, I started bawling my eyes out because I’m emotional anyways, but it was beautiful to see all these other people and meet all these other moms and parents who know what we’re going through,” said Lindsey Selcho, whose son was trying new tricks in his wheelchair.

Parents may know the challenges, but children like Porter don’t know any different. To them, they can do anything.

“If you tip over, you can get up again,” said Porter.

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