Parents start a wheelchair basketball team for their daughter and it’s a ball and so much more!

October 17, 2019

Written By

Mary Friona Celani

We’ve told you all about Emily Keicher a few times in the past; the amazing, spunky, smart and adorable who does not let any obstacle get in her way. She is fierce and a real fighter – and well – we know where she gets it from!

Emily was diagnosed with spina bifida before she was even born. Her parents, Liz and Chris were devastated by the diagnosis, but decided early on that they would raise their child to be determined, to do what she wanted and to never give up.

And so, for ten years now, the Lancaster girl has amazed and inspired everyone around her. The 5th grader absolutely loves to be active and now, there’s a new game in town and it’s all thanks to her parents.

“We are always working on something!” said Liz Keicher.  That something right now is a wheelchair basketball program. The idea came from Rochester, where Emily play on a summer team there and loved it.  So Liz and Chris started a free youth wheelchair basketball program at the Depew Lancaster Boys and Girls Club and the kids are having a ball.

“And you know Emily, she has a passion for life and being active. She has wanted to play basketball for so long. Now, being out on the court, with her Dad coaching, alongside peers of all abilities has been thrilling for her.” Liz says it’s a great opportunity for these remarkable children. “It brings everyone together for a sport she loves. Someone with a physical disability may not be able to play stand up basketball. But they can play wheelchair basketball. And someone with no disabilities can play also.”

The team meets once a week for practice where players learn how to use their special sports wheelchair. They spend time learning the game – gaining strength, confidence and having fun.

“It is very inclusive. Being out on the court each week, learning the rules, techniques, skills along side peers with and without physical disabilities is what it’s about. Youth sports are a big part of kids lives, and that’s no different for someone with a physical disability like Emily. You just need to make sure the opportunity is there!”

That’s what the Keichers do. They look for the opportunities and if they’re not there – they make them! They don’t give up – that just isn’t an option. So now you know where Emily gets her drive, motivation, determination and refusal to give up. 🙂


Liz says they are looking for more players! “We have about 7 to 10 players each week but we would like 13 to 15 for a full team. Anyone interested can come out to a practice and if they want more info the email we have is”



More on Emily:

The Face of Hope – Meet Emily – The Little Girl Inspiring Others



About Me

Welcome to Totally Buffalo! My name is Mary Friona-Celani and I am the creator of this site! After spending 20 years in the Buffalo media, I moved on to focus on my beautiful family. Now, the time has come for a new project. I was ready for something new. Something mine.
I am born and raised in WNY and my pride runs deep. My husband, Scott and I are very happy to be raising our four daughters here.






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