PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Hundreds of people with disabilities are gathering at Bartlett Lake this weekend for Barrow's 20th Annual Day at the Lake. For many this is the first time they've water skied, kayaked, or jet boated.
Madi Stanton has been hopping on and off the dock all morning at Bartlett Lake. The 24-year-old has Spinal Bifida and tried watersports for the first time 10-years-ago thanks to Barrow Neurological Institute's Day at the Lake program.
"I was just so excited to know that I can do stuff that non-disabled people can do, just in a different way, that just made me light up," said Madi Stanton.
The day offers adaptive water sports like water skiing, boating, and wakeboarding to people with physical and neurological disabilities. Barrow's Jo Crawford says this is the only integrated watersports program in Arizona.
"It's time for these families to heal. And they spend so much time in the hospital, in the waiting room at the doctors office, therapy, here it's just really where the rubber meets the road," said Joe Crawford.
Bartlett Lake Marina Owner Bryan Church became paralyzed from the waist down over 30-years-ago. He built this accessible facility so people like him could enjoy the lake.
"We have people out here who have just talked about how it's changed their life, they've been able to look at their life in a different way, now I can realize I can still participate in certain things that I thought were gone," said Bryan Church.
Day at the Lake runs through Saturday. Participants pay $50, and their families are free. Barrow also offers the event in June and September.