Lauryn DeLuca has dreams of fencing in the Paralympics (Source: WOIO)
NORTH ROYALTON, OHIO (WOIO) -
A local teenager has her eye on the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.
She’s been all over the country and the world, competing in wheelchair fencing. We went to North Royalton for this week’s Romona’s Kids to watch 16-year-old Lauryn DeLuca train.
Lauryn is the 2015 National Women’s Wheelchair Title-holder in epee and foil, two weapons in fencing.
"I think I saw fencing on a TV show or the Olympics and I wanted to try it and then I’m here now so it’s a good choice," DeLuca said.
Even though she has cerebral palsy, Lauryn started as an able-bodied fencer at age 9.
Then, a national coach noticed that she had a limp and approached her father.
"One thing led to another and she started training with the U.S. Wheelchair Fencing Team and started going to competitions worldwide," said Steve DeLuca, Lauryn’s father.
"I recently went to Poland for a World Cup, in spring I went to Arizona with the Brazilians, Argentinians and Canadians and we fenced. I came in second in epee in that one, third in foil and then two days later I had the Montreal World Cup," Lauryn said.
"She had talent when she was able-bodied and she has a lot of talent in the wheelchair, so it continues," said coach Johnny Ana.
Lauryn’s motto is "endeavor to persevere," which means never give up.
Her doctor has even seen an improvement in her left arm.
Lauryn also volunteers her time to get kids interested in fencing.
"It's a very good way to get children with disabilities into sports. Wheelchair fencing is not that big and we're hoping to expand it especially with the youth,” Lauryn said. "Fencing is for everybody, if you can walk, if you can't walk, so it's pretty versatile, I love it!"
Lauryn is invited to more competitions all over the world, which would raise her ranking, but travel is expensive and she doesn’t want to miss too much school.
She is a straight-A honors student at Parma High School.
If you would like to help Lauryn live her dream, you can make a donation HERE.