A COVENTRY teenager who had to endure bullying at school before having her life turned around after discovering wheelchair basketball is now celebrating having the chance to represent the West Midlands in the sport she loves.
Millie Riley, who attends the city’s Finham Park 2 school, has DeGeorge Syndrome, a very rare condition which affects her mobility and often leaves her highly fatigued from everyday tasks.
The 13-year-old said she faced bullying early on in life leaving her feeling unconfident about using her wheelchair at school, and the knock-on effect left her constantly exhausted with no energy to do other things at home.
Last year, she had the opportunity to attend a Winning on Wheels event hosted by Think Active, where she discovered wheelchair basketball.
She has since gone on to play for the Warwickshire Bears Wheelchair Basketball Club, which trains every week in Solihull, and has recently been selected to play for West Midlands Under 14s team.
Her increased confidence from playing the sport has also empowered her to use her chair regularly at school.
She said: “I absolutely love playing basketball and I’ve made loads of new friends in the Bears Basketball team.
“We get to train every Saturday, as well as play matches against other teams.
“I feel like my chair has become much more a part of me now and I’m so happy that I get to play this sport too.”
Her coach Tom Masterson added: “Millie has really come on in huge measures since she first joined us last year.
“We can see her confidence and power growing week on week and she’s got a great eye for slotting the ball straight in the net.
“She is a brilliant team player and we’re so happy to have her.”