By Eden Laikin
Eleven-year old Timothy Mui gets so excited about participating in the annual Games for the Physically Challenged at Mitchel Field that he can’t sleep for days before the event and he talks about it incessantly, his mother said.
Next month, Timothy – a student at the Henry Viscardi School in Albertson – will compete in the Games for the second year in a row, cheered on by his parents and younger brother.
“He loves getting medals,” his mother, Julie said.
Born normally developed, Timothy became ill at about 10 ½ months old and began to lose his motor functions. With no definitive diagnosis, Timothy has symptoms which doctors link to Leukodystrophy or “vanishing white matter” disease. Two years ago, he went completely blind.
His mother, a strong advocate, has dedicated her life to working with him and today, Timothy is “high functioning” and “talks a lot,” his mother says, defying doctor’s prognosis.
Last year, Timothy participated in wheelchair track events, including the 40, 60 and 100 meter races; precision throw- soft disc; and the obstacle course where he was pushed along by his brother.
Throughout the year, Timothy plays basketball, is excited to soon be a teenager, and revels in being able to do the things his brother does.
For the 4th year in a row, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano has led the charge to raise the private sector donations needed to ensure the Games continue their annual tradition in Nassau. Mangano invites residents to join him at this year’s Games – throughout the weekend of May 29th thru the 31, and make a difference in the lives of hundreds of children like Timothy.
Donations to keep the Nassau County Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged going, can be made on their website at http://www.nassascountypcgames.com. Every $200 collected means another young athlete can have what they need to participate in the Games.
“Please, help us keep these Games alive, as they bring hope and tears of joy, to the children athletes who compete,” Mangano said.
The Games’ main sponsors include King Kullen, NuHealth, Veolia and Hofstra University.
The 30th annual Games will begin with Opening Ceremonies at Nassau Community College on May 29th at 6:30pm. The Games will run throughout May 30 & 31 at Mitchel Athletic Complex, featuring athletes between the ages of 5 and 21 – with a Physical Challenge.
Physical Challenges include: Amputee, Blind and Visually Impaired, Cerebral Palsy, Deaf and Hearing Impaired, Spinal Cord Injured, Muscular Dystrophy, Dwarfism, Arthrogryposis, Cardiac or Pulmonary Disorders as well as Traumatic Brain Injuries.
The Games offer physically challenged youth the opportunity to participate in competitive sports and recreational activities adapted to best suit their unique abilities. They enable youth to learn and develop skills required for a successful experience in sports competition and fitness and familiarize the general public with the abilities of physically challenged individuals.
Competitive Events include: Track Events (Ambulatory, Wheelchair and Power Wheelchair), Field Events adapted for all Physical Challenges, Swimming, Archery, Table Tennis, and Slalom (Courses are set up to accommodate Ambulatory, Wheelchair and Blind/Visually Impaired athletes).
Each Athlete competes against other athletes of the same age group, same sex and same classification. Athletes compete for Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals, as well as fourth, fifth and sixth place ribbons. All others receive a “Personal Best” ribbon for their accomplishments.