SPOKANE, Wash. - Nothing compares to the smile of a child and when 'going fast' makes that child happy who are we to stand in his way?
Whether he's cruising through the cones or shooting for two, you won't find 4-year-old Aiden Youngblood without his hat or his smile.
"Well it started about two and a half. His first little Fisher Price set, basketball," said Aiden's father, Traylon Youngblood.Four-year-old achieves his dream to race
In or out of his wheelchair Aiden loved to be active.
"Fell in love with sports. Sitting down and watching football and basketball with daddy every day," said Traylon.
But last year at Bloomsday Aiden found a new love.
"He just said he wanted to go fast. He was very interested in what they were doing and he's even been practicing the position in his regular chair," said Aiden's mother Jacquelynn Youngblood.
Watching the wheelchair athletes and their spinning wheels Aiden developed a 'need' if you will.
"Now he wants to race. That's all he wants to do is go fast and shoot basketball and if we're not shooting basketball we are going fast," said Traylon.
Paralympic coach Teresa Skinner saw that gleam young Aiden's eyes and made the call.
"Aiden told me he wanted to go 'fast' like everyone else was going," said Skinner.
She knew she had to get the 4-year-old a new chair.
"If anyone could build a small race chair it would be Barry at Eagle Sports Chairs," said Skinner.
Late one evening at the Bloomsday office in Spokane Skinner surprised the young athlete with possibly the smallest racing chair ever made.
"I did not expect the chair at all and I'm still in shock," said Jacquelynn.
The new year's baby who was was born with an early expiration date made another leap experts thought he never would. His dad recalls that day.
"Came out it was a bit scary. We got a lot of scary news from the doctors and what-not," said Traylon.
Aiden is very familiar with hospitals already.
"At three years old he's had 10 surgeries," said Traylon.
However not once has Aiden let Spina Bifida with hydrocephalus on the brain slow him down. In fact he's going faster now than ever before.
"He's a really fast learner. He's already picking up the little things that you have to do to make the chair move around," said Paralympian Amber Lynn Weber.
Weber rolled back and forth across the Bloomsday office floor with the new racer. Knowing first hand the difference the gift will make.
"It just helps them fit in. It gives them something to compare," said Weber.
As he wheeled back and forth Aiden kept getting faster and faster.
"He's a special kid in himself. I mean, I think that but you don't think that other people think of your child in that way and it's in honor to be the parent of a child that special," said Jacquelynn.
With his hat and smile still on, and possibly getting bigger you could almost hear the cheers to come.
"To have this type of opportunity is just tremendous," said Traylon.
"This is exactly the way it should be. Kids should always grow up with the opportunity to grow up in sports and not know anything different," said Skinner.
The child who wasn't supposed to make it is that much closer to the finish line.
"I don't put any limitation on him and he doesn't put any on himself. From the beginning he's been told what he could not do and he's done all of that and much more," said Traylon.
And like always, his parents are going to have try that much harder to keep up.
"I'm going to have to get new running shoes," said Jacquelynn.
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