That’s no small feet for any competitor – let alone a teenager, who juggles family and school commitments, to find time to train and race.
Donovan, the son of Ferd and Kim McBride, was born with spina bifida. With this condition, the spinal cord and its surrounding tissues fail to develop or close properly prior to birth, effecting a person’s spinal cord and bones of the spine. The condition affects a person’s lower extremities, making walking difficult.
He has undergone eight surgeries, including one before he was born. He has overcome many challenges, including learning to walk with crutches and a walker, and learning modified ways of doing everyday tasks.
But through hard work, persistence and therapy sessions, Donovan is accomplishing his goals.
His passion for athletics comes from his mother, Kim McBride. Growing up, Donovan watched as she trained and participated in road races in the St. Louis area. “We wanted to do a race together,” Donovan explained when asked what motivated him to start racing.
At first, Donovan used his regular wheel chair to race, but about a year ago, he started using a racing chair, built by XCalibur Sports Chairs, to compete. The company custom builds racing chairs and supplies equipment to many of the top para-athletes.
The Disable Athlete Sports Association (DASA) in St. Peters, Missouri has been a big help to Donovan and other area athletes. “Through them is where he has flourished. He learned to use his chair, the basics of how to succeed. (With their help) he’s done competitions in St. Louis, Chicago and New Jersey.”
The organization’s connections have also help fund Donovan’s training needs. “We were just awarded a grant for an indoor trainer (similar to a road bike) for his chair, so he can get his training in inside while the weather is nasty.”
“DASA has been huge. We wouldn’t be where we we’re at (without them). This has opened up so many horizons and brought new things for him,” stated Kim.
Donovan won his division at the 2015 Great Go! St. Louis Halloween Half Marathon. He placed fourth in the 100 and 200-meter races, third in the 800 meters and second in the 5,000-meter races at the 2015 National Disability Championships in New Jersey.
Donovan was recognized nationally for his accomplishments in 5,000 meters track distance. “The U.S. Paralympic Team has recognized him as a National All-American Athlete. Last year they only recognized 66 athletes in the U.S.,” explained Kim.
His next goals are to compete in high school track this spring, build on that experience, and qualify for the 2020 Paralympics. “He’s under a second away from qualifying for the Paralympic 100 meter (race),” explained Kim.
With his goal in sight, it is only a matter of time before Donovan adds “Paralympian” to his growing list of accomplishments.