The following guest post was submitted by Partners for Youth with Disabilities, one of MMP's Partner-level programs that participated in the Rodman Ride for Kids on Sept. 29.
Juan Martin Botero, Partners for Youth with Disabilities mentor and Cambridge resident, rode for the fourth consecutive year for Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD) in the Rodman Ride for Kids on Sept. 29. Botero raced a 25-mile cycling course, and rode with William Connors, a PYD Board member, and Steve Taub, a first-time rider and supporter of PYD.
In 2010, Botero finished the 25-mile Rodman Ride course in 3:20, twice as fast as his personal goal. He was diagnosed with Ataxia more than a decade ago, and just over five years ago began using a wheelchair for greater mobility. The neurological dysfunction brought on by Ataxia affects gross motor coordination, so Botero uses adaptive equipment such as his recumbent bike, the Greenspeed Tadpole, for cycling training and racing, as well as his daily commute. Such equipment enables him to continue following his passions for the outdoors and travel, which culminated in his climbs in recent years to Mt. Kilimanjaro’s summit and the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
Botero wants to encourage young people facing challenges: “For this reason I believe in Partners for Youth with Disabilities. I became a mentor because I hope I can share my strengths and my stories, and I can show them that we can all climb Kilimanjaro in our own terms.” He has served as a mentor through the Mentor Match program at PYD since 2009.