Fabiola Aceves has grown into a more independent, open-minded individual since we last caught up with her at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games. Now, she’s preparing for this summer’s USA Games and is excelling in a different sport – a team sport.
Fabiola, who earned a pair of silver medals in tennis less than three years ago, is shooting for similar success on the hardwood as part of the San Gabriel Valley basketball team.
Her father, Lorenzo, said the 29-year-old has not only embraced the aspects of working as a team, but as a result she’s grown more comfortable around other people.
“Her mood, her attitude, her personality has changed a lot,” Lorenzo said. “It’s significant because before she was so quiet. Now, she’s more friendly.”
Fabiola is both epileptic and bi-polar, and Lorenzo remembers “a lot of hard times” as she grew up and learned how to manage her intellectual disabilities.
That growth has since helped land Fabiola a part-time job in the cafeteria at Pomona College. Lorenzo even recalled times when she would bring home her paycheck and her first instinct was to attempt to treat her father to lunch.
“At Christmas she even tried to get me a small gift to show she’s thankful,” Lorenzo added.
He couldn’t imagine where Fabiola would be without her involvement in Special Olympics.
“Special Olympics opened her mind,” Lorenzo said. It motivated her to do more things and to be independent. She’s challenging herself.
“I don’t have the words… I’m just thankful for Special Olympics and what it can do for [all the athletes]. Never would I have imagined all those [experiences].”