down: Elko youth rejects disabled label to excel and to lead
HELGOTH Staff Writer
outsider might observe that Pedro Moiola has a disability.
He walks with a distinct limp, a result of the prosthetic
leg he received after an amputation due to osteosarcoma,
Moiola, though, and he’d say the outsider is wrong. For
displaying that type of attitude and much more, the young
man was recently named the Boys & Girls Club of Elko Youth
of the Year.“Someone can perceive him as having a handicap,”
said Boys & Girls Club of Elko Director Fernando Vargas. “I
don’t think he perceives himself with any limitations.”
think he feels he can do anything.”
senior at Elko High School, for much of his life the
18-year-old has taken on challenges most will never face.
knee replacement surgery but could never walk well after, so
at age 12 he had his leg amputated above the knee.
at Shriner’s Hospital in Salt Lake City learning to use the
prosthetic, Moiola learned about Un-Limb-ited Amputee Camp
where amputees learn to ski or snowboard.
weeks later he strapped on a ski, grabbed the specially
designed poles that have tracks on the bottom and hit the
wasn’t easy at first, but over several years he progressed.
He now takes on black diamond runs, turning around juniper
trees and throwing up powder. He can ski with regular poles
cry from the first day,” said camp director Matt Lowell.
challenges Moiola and other amputees face aren’t just
physical, Lowell said. So the camp gives the youth
opportunity to talk with others going through the same
Boys & Girls Club where he has worked since September 2007,
Moiola said his favorite thing is interacting with members,
who often share what’s going on in their lives.
“Sometimes I can relate, sometimes I can’t,” Moiola said,
but he always tries to understand. “Seeing how some of these
kids can overcome challenges in their personal life” is the
best part of the job.
knows what it is like to be a club member grappling with
remembers the first time they met. Moiola, who was about 11
at the time, was sitting on a bench and Vargas asked him
what he wanted to be when he grew up.
he wanted to be a doctor because “no child should go through
what I’m going through.”
seeing the impact doctors can have on people’s lives, his
goal is still the same. Next fall he plans to attend the
University of Oregon to study pre-med.