A 13-year-old Idaho boy born without limbs has discovered a love for snowboarding, and his perseverance is inspiring those around him.
The journey of Bowen Toomey of Eagle, Idaho, started as an orphan in Serbia in 2009, when his adoptive mother, Devon Toomey, came across his picture “on a website for an international adoption agency for special needs children,” Today reported in 2014.
“The minute I saw him, I just knew he was our son. There was just something that spoke to me,” Devon said.
Devon, her husband Jeremy, and their two sons, Heath and Brooks, flew out to Serbia to adopt Bowen when he was a toddler and returned home in June of 2010, according to People Magazine. Though born without arms and legs, the teen has shown tremendous perseverance through the years, with his latest display of snowboarding on the Idaho slopes.
Through the help of nonprofit organization Adaptive Wilderness Sports of McCall (AWESOME), Bowen recently shredded the slopes at Brundage Mountain Resort, KTVB reports.
“It’s been going good so far, it’s been spectacular,” Bowen told the outlet. “It feels fantastic out there on the runs!” He noted that he wanted to embark on a sports challenge he had yet to experience.
AWESOME empowers “people of all abilities through high quality outdoor experiences,” including snowboarding and skiing lessons in the winter using adaptive equipment, its website states.
One of Bowen’s instructors, Andy Guest, told KTVB he is impressed with how quickly the teen is catching on:
He’s doing very well, today we are working on a second lesson on a snowboard. I’m very impressed with his skills. This is his second day and he’s making some turns on the hill, and just his desire to learn and go for it, is pretty impressive to me. Pick him up and strap him to a board and he loves it. He’ll go for it, and I think that’s pretty great.
Bowen says it feels great to be out on the mountain, and his determination to meet new challenges head-on is inspiring to those who meet him, including Guest.
“I am for sure,” he told KTVB. “I know when we got off the chair, there were several people who said they were just so inspired by him.”
Now, Bowen, having discovered a newfound love and hidden talent, says he would like to compete in the Olympics down the line. With his grit and determination, the sky is the limit.
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