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 North American Basque Organizations
  A federation of organizations to sustain BASQUE culture
 
 


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"Because they were, we are, and because we are they will be"
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ELKO BASQUE CARRIES ON: Pedro Moiola

Never back down: Elko youth rejects disabled label to excel and to lead
Online source: http://elkodaily.com/articles/2009/02/25/news/local_news

By ALI HELGOTH Staff Writer

An 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, bone cancer.

Ask 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.”

“I think he feels he can do anything.”

And for good reason.

Now a senior at Elko High School, for much of his life the 18-year-old has taken on challenges most will never face.

He had knee replacement surgery but could never walk well after, so at age 12 he had his leg amputated above the knee.

While 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.

A few weeks later he strapped on a ski, grabbed the specially designed poles that have tracks on the bottom and hit the slopes.

It 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 now, too.

A “far cry from the first day,” said camp director Matt Lowell.

But the 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 thing.

At the 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.

Moiola knows what it is like to be a club member grappling with uncertainty.

Vargas 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 said he wanted to be a doctor because “no child should go through what I’m going through.”

Since 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.

 

 

Recreate + Educate = Perpetuate


naBASQUE.org is the website of the North American Basque Organizations, Inc. (N.A.B.O.) a federation of organizations for the promotion of Basque culture. Helping to make this website possible is the Basque Autonomous Government of Euskadi.  Please send inquiries to info@naBASQUE.org  For links to all our pages on this website click on SITEMAP