Berrywood sisters win big in contest of wheelchair athletes


July 25, 1996|By Joni Guhne | Joni Guhne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TWO LOCAL girls really took the spotlight last month at the National Junior Wheelchair Championships in Birmingham, Ala.

Wheelchair athletes competing in track and field, swimming, archery, slalom and weightlifting were challenged to go for the gold.

Becky and Danielle Styer, the 12-year-old twin daughters of Brenda and Richard Styer of Berrywood, were part of a 15-member team from the Bennett Institute, a rehabilitation facility run by Children's Hospital of Baltimore.

The twins were born with cerebral palsy. "They each weighed 1 pound 12 ounces at birth and were 12 inches long," Brenda Styer said.

Becky and Danielle, experts at minimizing their physical limitations, could have used an extra suitcase to carry home all their prizes.

Becky won first place in several track events and in archery and slalom. She broke the national record in javelin and shot-put and also won medals in sponge discus and swimming.

Danielle came in first in her table tennis and archery divisions and took second in sponge discus, shot-put and javelin. She also won several medals in swimming.

Brenda cites two twists of fate in helping her and her husband deal with what could have been an overwhelming situation.

"My husband's brother has Down syndrome, and my undergraduate degree is in special education," she said. "So we both had some practical experience with special-needs people."

She also credits the couple's strong Christian faith for helping them maintain the strength to cope successfully.

The family moved from Pennsylvania to Maryland in 1987.

Information on institute programs: 410-669-2015.

Pub Date: 7/25/96

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