Magee Rehabilitation patients set sail on wheelchair accessible catamaran

An organization is helping people with physical disabilities move in ways they never thought possible.

Justin Udo
July 05, 2018 - 5:01 pm
The Impossible Dream

Justin Udo | KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- An organization is helping people with physical disabilities move in ways they never thought possible.

Felicia Krezel was born with cerebral palsy, a disease that has left her confined to a wheelchair. But that has not stopped her from living her life to the fullest.

"I go to Magee Rehab to work out three days a week, and they kind of help me to see what's out there for people with disabilities," Krezel said. "I swam and I did horseback riding in the past.

Now, Felicia and other patients at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital get to try something many of them never thought possible...they get to go sailing.

"This is the first experience I could ever have on a sailboat," Krezel said.

The sailboat taking them down the Delaware River is the 60-foot universally designed, wheelchair-accessible catamaran, named 'The Impossible Dream,' which goes up and down the East Coast, providing sailing experiences for people in wheel chairs.

"I never knew this was out there until now," Krezel said.

For Marie Protesto, a mother of two who suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident, and ended up in a wheelchair 30 years ago, the experience was a "dream" come true.

"When injuries happen, you never think you're going to have opportunities like this," Protesto said.

Crew members say even though the boat ride lasts for just a few hours, they hope all the passengers remember it and draw inspiration from it for years to come.

"We are showing them that what they thought was impossible is actually possible," said crew member Steve Baker, "and what they do is they take that change of mindset home and they apply it in other parts of their life."

Krezel says this boat ride is a dream come true.

"It feels pretty awesome for my first experience," she said.

Protesto says words can not express her joy and gratitude.

"When you think it's all said and done, it's not necessarily so," she said. "There are things like this that keep you going, give you new experiences, and things you never thought you would be part of, that you could do."