(Locator: Clarksville, MD)
Tatyana McFadden/Paralympic Athlete: “I never use the word ‘can’t.’”
16-year-old Tatyana (TAH-TON-YAH) McFadden focuses on what she “can” do.
That doesn’t leave out very much.
Tatyana McFadden/Paralympic Athlete: “When someone writes
‘disabilities,’ they should cross out the ‘dis’ and just keep the
Most Saturdays, the Clarksville, Maryland teenager is practicing ice
hockey. Or, helping coach other wheelchair athletes in basketball and
Gerry Herman/Coach: “She has a drive to use her ability to do the best
job in anything that she undertakes.”
Tatyana is a top athlete in the Paralympics. She’s the second-fastest
wheelchair racer in the world.
Deborah McFadden/Tatyana’s Mother: “When she came from Russia, her word
was ‘yasimah.’ ‘Yasimah’ means not just ‘I can to it, I can do it
Deborah McFadden adopted Tatyana from a Russian orphanage. She was born
with Spina Bifida, a hole in her spine that keeps her from walking, but
not from learning how to drive.
Tatyana McFadden/Paralympic Athlete: “My strength comes from my family
and my friends. They’ve all supported me and they love me very much.”
Tatyana inspires her nine-year-old sister, Hannah, who is also in a
Hannah McFadden/Tatyana’s Sister: “She’s been like the person who I
looked up to for all my problems.”
And when Tatyana had trouble navigating the stairs at her United
Methodist Church, members put in an elevator.
Ruth Agwuna (Aguna)/Linden-Linthicum United Methodist Church: “Just
seeing her and seeing the odds with which she has to go through life
makes you look at your own self and see that you can do anything that
you want to do, as long as you believe.”
Tatyana’s mom said she had no intention of adopting a Russian child, but
when she stepped into the orphanage her life changed. Tatyana said after
meeting Deborah, she turned to her friends at the orphanage and asserted
that Deborah would be her new mom.