New Fund for Adaptive Athletes With Spina Bifida

October 3rd, 2022

Illinois Spina Bifida Association logo with the text, "Kendall Gretsch Fund for Adaptive Athletes"

The Kendall Gretsch Fund for Adaptive Athletes promotes sports to Illinois children and adults with spina bifida.

Four-time Paralympic gold medalist Kendall Gretsch has partnered with the Illinois Spina Bifida Association (ISBA) to promote sports to children and adults with spina bifida.

The new Kendall Gretsch Fund for Adaptive Athletes helps Illinois individuals and families living with spina bifida pay for sports-related registration, equipment and travel expenses.

ISBA is administering the fund and will award grants of up to $250.

Kendall was born with spina bifida and grew up in Downers Grove, Ill. She is a three-time Paralympian and four-time Paralympic gold medalist. Kendall competes in cross-country skiing and biathlon during the winter and paratriathlon in the summer.

“I wish for everybody to be active and find a passion for sports,” Kendall told the ISBA. “Now when a family living with spina bifida needs some adaptive sports equipment or help with the cost of travel and event participation, this fund will be there to help.”

You can read more about the Kendall Gretsch Fund for Adaptive Athletics and Kendall’s multisport career at

ISBA is sending fund applications to people on its mailing list who are living with spina bifida. You can contact ISBA at (773) 444-0305 or to sign up for the fund’s free mailing list.

Spina bifida is a neurological condition in which the spine fails to close properly during the first month of pregnancy. It can cause physical and developmental disabilities that range from mild to severe.

ISBA works to improve the quality of life of more than 900 Illinois children and adults living with spina bifida by promoting skills development and independence. Visit the ISBA website to learn more.

Spina bifida is also an eligible medical condition for the Division of Specialized Care for Children’s (DSCC) programs. Visit our “How We Help” page for more details.

Scholarships for Illinois Adults With Spina Bifida

June 21st, 2021

Illinois Spina Bifida Association logo

Three scholarship opportunities available

Are you an Illinois adult living with spina bifida and continuing your education?

The Illinois Spina Bifida Association (ISBA) is now accepting scholarship applications for the 2021-22 school year.

Several scholarships are available and may be used for a range of post-high school adult education, including:

  • Two- and four-year college programs
  • Graduate school
  • Online courses
  • Technical or trade schools
  • Other continuing education opportunities

The ISBA scholarship application is available at  

The ISBA’s three scholarship opportunities are:

  • The Patrick Juris Scholarship is awarded to a student with spina bifida preparing for a field of service that helps others.
  • The Valiant Scholarship is awarded to a student who displays outstanding leadership, goodwill toward those less fortunate and dedication to making a difference.
  • The Mary Mayer Scholarship is in memory of a fiercely independent individual with spina bifida.

For more details about these memorial scholarships, see the ISBA scholarship application.

The deadline to submit scholarship applications is July 17.

For more information, contact (773) 444-0305 or

In the News: DSCC Participant Wins Adaptive Bike

October 7th, 2020

Project Mobility awards adaptive bikes to seven youth with mobility issues

Six-year-old-Dayna loves to keep up with her older brothers.

But keeping up became a lot harder when biking became a favorite pastime during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order.

Dayna was born with spina bifida, a birth defect in which the spinal cord fails to develop or close properly. She has no feeling in her legs from the knee down, so a traditional bicycle is too difficult to maneuver.

To give Dayna greater independence, her family entered a contest to raise money for a new adaptive bike.

Thanks to the Bike Rack’s Project Mobility program, Dayna and six other children are receiving specially configured bicycles at no cost.

Project Mobility is a nonprofit organization based in St. Charles, Ill. It offers recreational events using specialized bicycles for people with disabilities. The organization also does adaptive bike giveaways.

Adaptive bikes can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000.

“We’ve known about Project Mobility for a few years. We go to the Ability Expo every year and they are well-known in the spina bifida community,” Dayna’s mother, Kimberly Dorencz-Cuervo said. “When we saw they were starting up an adaptive bike giveaway for this year, we decided to enroll Dayna.”

Dayna is a participant in the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC).

She was one of seven children with mobility issues who entered the Adaptive Bike Giveaway – Everybody Rides 2020 edition.

“One way that we get to go out as a family and do things is by bike riding, and it really brings normalcy to our days,” Kimberly told Chicago WGN 9 News. The news station featured the contest and Dayna in a recent news story. 

“Dayna can’t participate in it, so having this bike would just be able to make her feel included, and inclusivity is so important to us. It would be a blessing,” Kimberly added. 

Typically, the contest awards a bike to the youth who receives the most shares and likes on Facebook.

But this year’s contest went viral. Thanks to the generosity of donors and sponsors, all seven children will receive their own adaptive bike. Chicago WGN 9 covered the great news in a follow-up story.

“We thought that was awesome,” Kimberly said. “Dayna is so excited. She can’t wait.”

Kimberly said the bike shop is currently customizing Dayna’s bike, so she expects it will be ready to go for next spring.  

“Having the adaptive bike will allow her to participate with the family in bike riding and doing all of the things that a typical child does,” she said. “It will also help her in making friends because many of the kids in our neighborhood ride bikes. I think it’s going to help her with the social aspect, too.”

Congratulations to Dayna and all the giveaway winners!

For more information on Project Mobility, visit