VANCOUVER, Wash. — Emma Fletcher is a seventh grader on the Wy’East Middle School cross country team in Vancouver. This is her first year on the girls' cross country team.

It’s her first time being a part of anything like this.

“Being on this team is like having another family,” said Fletcher. “We all care about each other.”

Competing in cross country races didn’t seem possible for her. Fletcher was born with spina bifida. 

“She’s defied a lot of odds,” her mother said. “We were told she wouldn’t walk.”

The 12-year-old uses a specialized hand cycle to compete in races. In the team’s final home meet of the season, Fletcher finished in 28th place. 

Emma Fletcher
Emma Fletcher

“That’s the best place I’ve gotten,” said Fletcher. “Being in the races feels really good for me because it’s making me stronger and it’s making me feel like I’m a part of something.”

Fletcher began attending adaptive bike clinics with Shriners Hospital in 2015. Organizations Wheel to Walk and Different Spokes helped her find the right bike.

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