Paralympian tells Hinsdale students about achieving their dreams
Updated: April 15, 2013 2:09AM
HINSDALE — Paralympian Lloyd Bachrach told students at The Lane School about achieving their dreams and recognizing differences are natural and not handicaps.
Bachrach’s parents, initially told the bones in his legs would not grow normally, found another doctor who said, “Bring Lloyd home and give him a chance. He’ll find ways that work for him.”
And Bachrach swam, did gymnastics and played baseball and other sports before he was fitted with artificial legs.
The Lane students were impressed when Bachrach showed how fast he could move across the gymnasium floor, using his arms to compensate for his short legs. Although he has a normal size chest and torso, he is only about 4-feet tall.
As a teenager, Bachrach won 25 gold medals in gymnastics against able-bodied gymnasts. As an adult, he competed in the 1996 Paralympic Olympics.
Bachrach, who lives in Chicago, has worked as a trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, gymnastics director for the Chicago Park District’s Therapeutic Recreation Department, and as a motivational speaker.
He showed The Lane students how he walks with his artificial legs. Then he removed them and showed how he walks without them. Some of the children giggled at the sight of a man with a well-muscled torso walking on miniature legs.
“I hope you are not laughing at me,” Bachrach said, “because that would hurt my feelings.”
He explained rather than the word disabled, he uses the term “differently abled” to describe himself.
“I can do it, but in a different way,” Bachrach said. “Don’t we all do things our own special way?” he asked.
After the presentation, fifth-grader Luke Evans said, “I like how he could conquer everything we could do, even though he was different.”
“It was inspiring,” said Guy Goss, another fifth-grader.
For more information about Lloyd Bachrach, visit www.yes-you-can.net.