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Blind and visually impaired youth in Portland area participate in skateboarding clinic

About 20 participants ages 10 to 21 got a chance to build their own skateboards and learn basic skills from professionals.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Dan Mancina's love for skateboarding started at a young age. He wanted to turn his passion for the sport into a career, but by 23 years old, an eye disease took his sight and cut short his dream. 

Mancina said he struggled to come to term with his new reality. 

"And then eventually [I] realized that I should just do what I want to do and not really to be dictated by what other people might think I should do or can do," he said.

Mancina trained and learned to use a cane while skateboarding. Now the athlete is sponsored by Adidas and has become an inspiration to people around the world. 

"It kind of is my goal to share my love and passion for skateboarding and do my part to introduce kids to everything they possibly can," Mancina said.

That's why he teamed up with the Northwest Association For Blind Athletes, Adidas and other sponsors to host a skateboard clinic for blind and visually impaired youngsters in the Portland area. About 20 participants, ages 10 to 21, got a chance to build their own skateboards and learn basic skills like stand, balance and push from professional skateboarders.

"I love skateboarding. There's this pro that I skateboarded with and she's awesome," said Gwyneth Mitchell, one of the participants.

Mitchell and her best friend, Miracle Boulos, got to experience skateboarding for the first time together. 

"We had so much fun," Boulos said.

Everyone at the event went home with their own board, helmet, shoes and some new tricks.

"I think that feels very amazing," Mitchell said. "I feel so good about myself now that I know that I can probably be like these other talented skateboarders."

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