Champion thanks her inspirations

IN September 2001, 13year-old cerebral palsy sufferer Cassandra Brown got to swim with Bucky, Zip and Calamity, the Pet Porpoise Pool's resident in-shore bottle-nose dolphins.

This was a real challenge for Cassandra, not because she is wheel-chair bound, but because she had always resisted any attempt to get into the water previously.

Her time in the pool with the dolphins so moved and inspired her that she decided to learn to swim.

Since that decision Cassandra has won several Australian age records for her level of disability, and she has also won the Premier's Award for age records for her level.

In April, 2003, Cassandra competed in the Junior Titles in Adelaide, breaking three games records.

Her goal?

To swim for Australia in the Paralympics in Beijing in 2008.

Last week Cassandra caught up with her old dolphin buddies, the inspirations who helped change her life, to say a special thanks and re-join them in the pool.

Cerebral palsy is a disorder of muscle control which results from some damage to part of the brain.

It is a permanent, nonprogressive but not unchanging impairment of muscle control.

Cerebral palsy can result in problems such as weakness, stiffness, awkwardness, slowness, shakiness and difficulty with balance.

These problems can range from mild to severe.

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