Athletes with disabilities race down the Schuylkill River in 40th Annual BAYADA Regatta

Rowers left their crutches and wheelchairs on the docks to race at the 40th Annual BAYADA Regatta!

Competitor for the rowing competition

Competitor for the rowing competition at the 40th annual Bayata Regalla (Credit: 6abc)

This story originally appeared on 6abc

Today, athletes with various kinds of disabilities got a chance to row, row, and row their boats today at the 40th Annual BAYADA Regatta.

The event was formed in the early 1980s as a result of a chance encounter.

“There was a small little program of people in Philadelphia that were into adaptive rowing and I happened to meet their coach at a wedding,” said Mark Baiada, the chairman of BAYADA Home Health Care.

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Established in 1975, BAYADA now provides holistic care to more than 150,000 clients in the course of a year. And they also help to organize the annual adaptive rowing event for individuals with disabilities.

One of the racers at today’s event was 25-year-old Joseline Castillo. She was raised in the Dominican Republic and lived a normal life until she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in high school.

“When I was 17, I got transverse myelitis, which is an autoimmune disease and that ended up giving me a spinal cord injury,” said Castillo. “So, I ended up moving here to be able to go see doctors at John Hopkins.”

After regaining some mobility in her once-paralyzed legs, Castillo discovered rowing as one of the many sports she could try. And today, she got a chance to race against other athletes in similar boats.

“You become equals in the water because you’re all using the same type of equipment and you’re competing with people who are similar to you in the sense of your disability,” she said.

To learn more about BAYADA Home Health Care, visit their website.

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