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Shriners Children’s Patient Wins Big at 2022 IWAS Games

Danielle brought home the gold, the silver and the bronze.

More than 600 athletes competed in the 2022 International Wheelchair & Amputee Sports Games in Vila Real de Santo António, Portugal, and Shriners Children’s Florida is proud that Patient Ambassador Danielle was one of them.

She was originally selected to represent the United States at the International Wheelchair and Sports (IWAS) World Games in Thailand in 2020 before they were cancelled due to the pandemic. When this event was rescheduled for Portugal this fall, Danielle hoped she would get the chance to represent Team USA, and eagerly accepted the invite when she got the call. Danielle won a full set of medals; a Gold in Javelin, Silver in Discus and a Bronze in Shot Put. She is also one of 34 athletes named by U.S. Paralympics Track & Field on their 2022 High School All-American roster, which recognized the top high school track and field athletes this season.

These awards and accolades only fuel Danielle’s dedication to her training, as she aspires to compete in the 2024 Paralympic Games. What are her next steps to get there? For now, she has her eyes set on competing at Junior Worlds 2023 in Paris. It is clear that Danielle’s limb difference makes no difference, and that her no-limits attitude inspires her to be a better athlete. We can’t wait to see what she does next.

Thanks to the care I have received from Shriners Children’s and the POPS team, I know I will be able to achieve my dreams and all of my future goals.

More About Danielle, aka "Dani"

Danielle was born in China, where she developed a life-threatening hand infection, which led to a below-the-elbow amputation when she was 3 weeks old. At 15 months, Danielle was matched with her new mother, JoAnne, and they travelled to New Jersey to live with her grandparents.

Danielle originally began her Shriners Children's journey in Philadelphia, where she received her first of many arm prostheses. In 2013, her family moved south and she transferred her care to Shriners Children’s Florida. It was then that Danielle was invited to attend a sports clinic sponsored by Paralympic Sports, introducing her to the world of adaptive track, field and swimming.

Once Danielle’s passion for adaptive sports was set into motion, she has not looked back. She competes with able-bodied athletes as a member of her high school track team. In addition, she competes locally and nationally at the National Junior Disability Games and holds national records in all throwing events for her age group. Danielle also loves to swim; she traveled to Colorado in the fall of 2021 to compete in the Move United Junior Nationals competition where she set three personal records and won gold in each of the six events she entered.

Being such a well-rounded athlete, Danielle keeps the team in the Pediatric Orthotics and Prosthetic Services (POPS) department busy customizing different prostheses for her to utilize during her favorite activities. For daily use, she has a bionic arm that detects movements in her residual limb - above the elbow – and acts intuitively, providing her with multi-grip capabilities. She also has sport-specific prostheses she wears for throwing discus, javelin and weight lifting.

As a Patient Ambassador for Shriners Children’s, Danielle has taken part in several photoshoots, commercials and media interviews over the years. She is called upon frequently to represent us because her “can-do” attitude inspires so many, making her a remarkable role model to anyone that meets her. Most recently, Danielle traveled to Las Vegas to serve as a standard bearer at the 2021 Shriners Open alongside other patient representatives from across our system.

When Danielle is not competing, she enjoys golfing, playing the guitar and spending time with her dogs, Cooper and Mei. As she looks ahead to her senior year, Danielle’s college campus visits have already begun; she plans to pursue a degree in mechanical or aerospace engineering.

Shriners Children's Keeps Dani "On Track" with Her Goals, On and Off the Field

We look back on her journey and athletic accomplishments.

Danielle playing guitar

Using the "guitar arm" she received from the POPS department, Danielle played a song at the 2016 Walk for Love opening ceremonies.

Danielle on the cover of Challenge magazine

Danielle was featured on the cover of the Fall 2019 edition of Challenge magazine.

Danielle's bionic arm doing fist bump

Danielle's bionic arm provides her with multi-grip capabilities, allowing her to give "fist pumps" after an appointment in POPS.

Danielle wearing sports prosthesis

Danielle uses a sports-specific prosthesis for throwing discus, javelin and weight lifting.

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