iFly Fort Lauderdale helps kids with disabilities reach new heights

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida indoor skydiving center made dreams come true by helping people with disabilities take flight.

iFly Fort Lauderdale, in Davie, celebrated National Disability Day over the weekend with an evening of high-flying fun.

“Some folks think they can’t fly, and we want to show folks that they can,” said iFly Fort Lauderdale General Manager, Jim Braun. “We have very few restrictions. Right now we actually have four paraplegics that are actually going to fly. At one point they never thought they would fly at all, so in this case here, it’s not just for able bodies, but it’s for all abilities.”

The event, All Abilities Night, benefitted Best Buddies Broward and their work with individuals throughout the community.

“It’s a chance for us to feel like everybody else,” said Jessika Kattah, an ambassador for All Abilities Night. “It’s the freedom to be just like everybody else.”

The incredible evening was set up to encourage everyone, regardless of physical or cognitive barriers, to push past limitations and take flight.

“It’s so important for us mentally, physically, to beat odds that people think we’ll never be able to do — we are beating those odds,” said Kattah.

Assisted by trained instructors, each flyer’s special needs were accommodated.

“It’s freedom,” said Kattah. “You’re out of your chair. It’s complete freedom. You feel like superman, superwoman. It’s a great feeling.”

“It was really awesome doing it,” said Michael Adler. “Everyone should do it. It gives you a feeling of weightlessness — like you’re in zero gravity. It’s so awesome.”

The participants enjoyed the opportunity to let loose and live life to the fullest.

“It’s just really, really cool to see like because a lot of people put them down, say they’re not the same,” said Athena Pengg, a Best Buddies club member, “but in all honestly they are just human, the same as everyone else and for them to have this opportunity is just amazing.”

The All Abilities event is held on the second Thursday of every month.

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