Athlete With Cerebral Palsy Shows Courage to Compete
Monday, June 13, 2016

 Angel Irvin, 26, is participating on June 18th in the First Try Triathlon in Linden, Michigan.  It is her first triathlon which is includes a 300 yard swim, 9 mile bike ride and 2 miles in her everyday wheel chair. Her  goal is to compete in Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii which would require a roll of 26.2 miles via wheel chair.  

 
Courtesy photo
 
TNCP Community Writer
 
The word "inspirational" is often used to describe Angel Irvin, a young women is determined to make her dreams a reality, very much in spite of having to deal with the daily struggles of living with a physical disability.
 
On any given day, at any given time at the Westside YMCA it is not uncommon to run into Angel, usually at the pool. As you watch her struggle to get out of the pool and into her wheelchair, may the natural response is maybe pity, but that quickly turns to amazement when she tells you she is training for a triathlon.
 
Angel has Cerebral Palsy (CP) which she describes as a "Snowflake Disorder."   Cerebral Palsy is an umbrella term for a condition which impairs a person's ability to control muscle tone. The symptoms of Cerebral Palsy manifest itself differently in each individual, just as no two snowflakes are alike neither are two people with CP.  
 
Angel's CP primarily affects her lower extremities, which means extremely limited functional movement in her legs.  When she swims, for example, her legs straighten out behind her and she swims  using a modified breast stroke technique.  For the biking portion of the triathlon she uses the hand crank;  in her wheelchair, her feet need to be restrained or her legs involuntarily straighten. 
 
Angel graduated with honors from John Glenn High School in Westland .  She clearly has an affinity for creative writing and is being encouraged to pursue writing opportunities. 
 
She presently serves as an intern with Community Mental Health (CMH) and also serves as a consultant, volunteering for the Developmental Disabilities Council, a federally fund organization in Lansing.
 
She taken college courses over the last few years but has decided that she first wants to follow her passion:  to become a personal trainer for people of all abilities.  Angel now facilitates an exercise class at Transition Central, through CMH (CMH) for 12 - 15 participants.  She teaches this class as an intern working towards a  Peer Mentor Certificate for CMH.  As a Peer Mentor, she will have the responsibility to helping others with developmental disabilities with a variety of independent living skills.

Her ultimate dream is to open a recreational facility specifically geared towards the disabled community. She plans to obtain personal training certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine, online.

This article was printed in the June 12, 2016 - June 25, 2016 edition.

 

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