Girl with cerebral palsy motivates track teammates - Dallas News |

Girl with cerebral palsy motivates track teammates

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People who know Valerie Stover say there is something special about her. The teenager, born with cerebral palsy, is defying the odds and in the process is motivating her teammates on the Griffin Christian High School track team to run harder and faster.

Her parents, Monica and Jay Stover, say they were told at Grady Hospital 15 years ago Valerie may not walk or talk, and would have severe cerebral palsy.  Five years ago she started running.

"I run pretty much every day. I just like running," said Valerie.

This school year, she joined the track team.

"Obviously, it's a little bit of a physical challenge for Valerie to run the distance, but she doesn't think about that, not even for a second.  She thinks about doing her best which is what we always talk about," said the school track coach, Jay Hanlon.

Her inspiring strength is the fuel behind the track team.

"She adds something to our team that I think teams don't get the chance to experience, and we're  very blessed to have her to be a part of our team," said assistant coach Jessica Henderson.

Teammates say she gives them a boost when they see Valerie running with her head up and smiling. Some say they have never been on a team with someone like her.

Valerie says not only does she want to run, but one day she wants to be the first woman with cerebral palsy to finish an Ironman competition. With her determination, maybe one day she will accomplish that goal.

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