The Virtual Foundation - your donation makes it happen

Thank You Letter and Final Report - for "Basketball for Wheelchair Participants"

Thank You Letter to the Donor
May 14, 2002

Every year in Lithuania about 100 people experience spinal traumas, and then can move only in wheelchairs. This is a tremendous psychological shock and and a huge limitation of human physical ability. It takes time to get over psychological barriers, and to learn to live with a new "myself".

Since 1996 in Lithuania active rehabilitation camps and workshops have been organized. During these activities, wheelchair persons are being taught an independent life style; they learn not only how to move in a wheelchair, but also exercise and strengthen their physical health.

We planned this basketball project, wishing to help disabled people like ourselves. By playing basketball and taking exercise, people improve their body coordination a lot, decrease cases of metabolic disorders, avoid contraction of joints, and what is most important, become stronger psychologically.

Iím very grateful to the Virtual Foundation donor, who understood the importance of this project, and supported my wish to help disabled who can move only in a wheelchair.

On the behalf of everyone who now can play basketball and exercise because of your generosity, THANK YOU and we wish you strength and good health.

Respectfully,

Regina Shileikyte

Chairwoman, Club "Draugyste"
Vilnius, Lithuania

Final Project Report
May 23, 2002

This project was initiated in order to help people with spinal injuries by organizing regular basketball games in beautiful natural surroundings at Baldzio Silas Rehabilitation Center (in Vilnius). Our project that was supported by the Virtual Foundation donor is a part of bigger project which aims to equip a sports' complex site where disabled can play not only basketball, but also volleyball and tennis. Trainers of our Sport Club run sessions for the newly disabled people: once a week they teach "beginners" physical exercises and playing basketball in a wheelchair. Basketball helps the disabled to improve their body coordination, to train and strengthen their motion.

It is nice to observe the changes in the "beginners". At first, when the "beginners" come to exercise they are thinking that they will not be able to play basketball and enjoy it just like healthy persons. But after a few hard exercises they change their approach. Besides that they experience psychological satisfaction being among others who are stronger players. "Beginners" are taught individually at the beginning: their exercises depend on the type of their injuries. For example, people with a neck injuries can hardly move their hands. The majority of them can not move their fingers. For these people there are special exercises when they are taught to throw the ball into the distance, do different exercises for their hands with and without the ball, and only then to throw the ball into the basket. For those who can move their hands, and hands are strong, it is easier to learn. They start by throwing the ball into the basket from a smaller distance, and then the distance is increased. It is also very important to learn how to move in the wheelchair when playing basketball, so this takes a little more time for the "beginners".

This is the very beginning of this project. In the future, during all summer months, "beginners" and Sports' Club members will be playing basketball together, and contests will be organized regularly. Active rehabilitation camps are being organized all year, and we believe that "beginners" will soon join our Sports' Club team.

We have received an amount of $550 for this project from the Virtual Foundation. This money was used to purchase: two stands, boards and hoops, and four balls. This game is the most popular among wheelchair participants . This project does not have a time frame: equipment that we have purchased will be used for many years. Our project donor made it possible for us. We appreciate this support very much, and are grateful to the donor.

Vilnius, Lithuania

The photo below,left, is of project author, Regina Shileikyte, Chairwoman of Club "Draugyste", Summer 2002.