Teen Who Loves Basketball Is Gifted Adaptive Wheelchair so She Can Play

Olivia Curcuru sustained a spinal cord injury at the age of 3.

A 13-year-old girl who loves basketball got a surprise gift: an adaptive wheelchair she could use to continue pursuing her passion. 

Olivia Curcuru, who lives in Phoenix sustained a spinal cord injury at the age of 3 when she was hit by a truck while riding her tricycle. Since then, she has developed a love for basketball. 

“My favorite thing about basketball is to see other people in wheelchairs … and know other people in wheelchairs that like basketball like I do,” Olivia said.

Although she loves the sport, Olivia didn’t have an adaptive chair of her own. She would have to borrow one when she played.

The Hartford’s Ability Equipped Program, which helps provide adaptive equipment to children and adults across the U.S., wanted to change that. 

At a ceremony for the surprise, not only did Olivia get a new chair, but she found out she’ll get one-on-one basketball lessons with two-time Paralympian Megan Blunk.

Olivia got her chair as everyone cheered for her.

“Being a part of the Hartford’s Ability Equipped Program and delivering chairs that are custom fit for these kids, it’s such a special opportunity,” Blunk said. “I know how it is to have a chair that fits you correctly. [It’s] life-changing and I know what’s going to happen in their life from receiving this, so it’s exciting”

Blunk herself presented Olivia with the chair. Olivia said she was “really surprised.”

“Megan started announcing this one person, which was me. She kept looking at me,” Olivia said. “It felt like it was all a dream it didn't feel like it was actually and it felt like I was just dreaming the entire thing and at one point I was gonna wake up. So far I haven't woken up."