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Boy With Muscular Dystrophy Overcomes Fear Of Water Thanks To Kindhearted Volunteer.

If you told Cindy Wong that her son would be happily swimming one day, she wouldn’t have believed you.

Not only did Gabriel Wall have an intense fear of water, but he also has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder that causes progressive muscle degeneration. But with the help of a special mentor, he learned to conquer the daunting roadblock!

Cindy said Gabriel started changing his mind about water when he met Rick Hanes through a children’s swimming program at the Kiwanis Pool in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

The patient man began volunteering at the pool after suffering a heart attack and kept going for over 13 years! He began holding lessons there as well, gradually shifting to focus on children with special needs.

Under Rick’s guidance, Gabriel has learned to love the water!

In the months they spent working together, the two of them formed a special bond.

Gabriel grew to trust Rick, and as such, he put his best effort into their lessons. As for Rick, well, he was continuously amazed by Gabriel’s can-do attitude.

He said the words “can’t” and “won’t” aren’t in the boy’s vocabulary. In fact, Gabriel always made sure to complete his “homework” every night, which included arm and other strengthening exercises.

Now, Gabriel can float, swim the length of the pool, and walk in the water – something he can’t do on land! He also made a bunch of friends along the way. Cindy, who got to watch him swim for the first time, couldn’t be prouder of how far he’s come!

“To see someone who wouldn’t even get his face wet to go under the water and blow bubbles, it was amazing,” Cindy said. “He can’t walk. He needs help with most of his daily activities, but now he comes here and he can swim on his own.”

Not only did the little boy get great exercise to help with his condition, but he also turned his biggest fear into a fun activity! Rick deserves all the credit in the world for helping kids with disabilities believe in themselves!

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