If you meet Madeleine Babcock, it won’t take long to figure out that she loves to swim. It also won’t take very long to see that this young teenager’s will and determination will allow her to accomplish anything she puts her mind to doing. Her story is an inspiration for anyone with a disability.
Madeleine was born with glaucoma, a disease that damages the optic nerve, and aniridia, a disorder that affects the iris. As a result, she is legally blind in her left eye and only has light perception in her right eye. But this has not stopped Madeleine from her love of being in water. She started swimming lessons at 18-months-old and hasn’t looked back. When she turned six, she decided that she wanted to compete as a swimmer and joined the Belmont Aquatic Team.
No stranger to hard work – maintaining an “A” average in school while keeping up with orientation and mobility (O&M) and braille lessons, etc. – Madeleine swims about two hours a day. She practices with her Belmont team five times a week and once a week with the swim team at Adaptive Sports New England, an organization that increases participation in athletics by young people and adults with visual or mobility impairments. She has had to employ some unconventional techniques to pursue her love of swimming. She breathes on every fourth stroke instead of every three. In races, one of her parents will use a golf ball retriever with a tennis ball attached to the end to tap her on the head as she approaches the end of a lane. This signals that two strokes remain before the wall.
Last June, Madeleine competed in the U.S. Paralympic Trials in Charlotte, North Carolina. Although she fell short of making the U.S. Paralympic team that competed in the 2016 Paralympic games in Rio, Brazil, Madeleine has already set her sights on the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. According to her parents Chris and Jill, Madeleine believes she can do anything she puts her mind to. She claims, “You don’t have any limits…and you’re your only limit.”
In addition to her school work and athletic prowess, Madeleine works with a MCB Rehabilitation Teacher (RT) to advance her cooking and organization skills.
To read more inspiring consumer stories, check out MCB’s 2016 Annual Report.
Massachusetts Healthcare Decisions Month posted on Apr 19
In recognition of the 10th anniversary of National Healthcare Decisions Day, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services is proud to support Massachusetts Healthcare Decisions Month (HDM). Led by the Massachusetts Coalition for Serious Illness Care*, HDM is a month-long public awareness campaign promoting …Continue Reading Massachusetts Healthcare Decisions Month
A Focus on Disparities for National Public Health Week – Infant Mortality posted on Apr 7
By almost every measure, Massachusetts is one of the healthiest states in the nation. In fact, the United Health Foundation’s Health Rankings Report recently ranked Massachusetts the second healthiest state, behind only Hawaii. Among the findings, we ranked #1 in Senior Health and #1 in Women …Continue Reading A Focus on Disparities for National Public Health Week – Infant Mortality
MassHealth moving forward in transitioning toward Accountable Care Organizations and investing in Behavioral Health and Supports for individuals with disabilities under innovative 5-year waiver posted on Mar 29
Massachusetts Secretary for Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders announced the next steps in the MassHealth program’s transition from the current fee-for-service system towards coordinated and integrated care to improve members’ health and contain costs under its innovative five-year 1115 waiver. The MassHealth program is …Continue Reading MassHealth moving forward in transitioning toward Accountable Care Organizations and investing in Behavioral Health and Supports for individuals with disabilities under innovative 5-year waiver