BERKLEY, Mich. – A 17-year-old girl from Berkley was one of 71 athletes to be named a Track and Field High School All-American by the U.S. Paralympics.
Margaret Beaudoin, who has cerebral palsy, was recognized as the eighth highest ranking female in discus, with a 15.92 meter throw. She also competes in running, javelin and shot put.
“I’m just really proud to have been there with so many other amazing Paralympic athletes,” Beaudoin said. “They are my heroes. They have worked hard to compete and earn medals in these competitions, and I hope to do the same.”
This summer, she competed as an adult for the first time in the Paralympics in Los Angeles. She met the national standards for five track and field events, received medals in three of them and set personal best records in all five categories.
She received silver medals for a shot put throw of 6.73 meters, a javelin throw of 12.53 meters and a discus throw of 15.24 meters. She also placed fifth place overall in the 100-meter dash.
"She had an amazing showing at her first adult nationals. We just couldn’t be happier," her mother, Christine McNish, said.
Although Beaudoin wasn’t picked to represent Team USA at the World Para Athletics Junior Championships held in Switzerland this year, she is looking forward to qualifying for the World Cerebral Palsy Games.
“I loved the entire experience in L.A.,” she said. “It was amazing on so many levels.”
Beaudoin's mother noticed that when her daughter was about 6 months old, she couldn't move or use her left arm. She was diagnosed with hemiplegic infantile cerebral palsy as a result of damage to the part of the brain that controls muscle movements.
Despite the diagnosis, she was playing soccer at 3 years old, thanks to a family friend who coached the team.
“Margaret is an amazing example of what it looks like to unlock a child’s potential,” said Dr. Susan Youngs, one of Beudoin's physicians at the Beaumont Center for Exceptional Families. "We join families like Christine and Margaret’s on the journey of parenting a child with special needs so those children can live their dreams"