Community honors local Paralympian with drive-by parade before send-off to Beijing | News


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HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) – A South Hadley native is on his way to Beijing to represent the United States in the Paralympic Games.

The Holyoke Fire Department and community members sent off 25-year-old sled hockey player Kyle Zych to the 2022 Winter Paralympics with a drive-by parade on Saturday.

“I love all the support I have been getting back home, and it makes traveling easier and more fun for sure,” Zych told Western Mass News.

Organizer Mary Kate O’Connor said that she is a family friend and has been following Kyle’s journey on social media.

“This is kind of emotional, but it’s all good,” O’Connor said. Go, Kyle!”

Kyle was born with spina bifida, a condition that left him with many hurdles to overcome. His mother shared with us how proud she is of her son.

“As his mom, it’s just amazing to see how far he has come,” she told us, “but he definitely deserves it because he has worked hard over the past 11 years to get where he is, and for a 25-year-old to achieve his dream, it’s inspiring to those that have disabilities and are afraid to try something new like Kyle was when he was younger.”

Kyle leaves for Los Angeles on Sunday to meet the rest of the sled hockey team, and then will head to Beijing on the 25th.

“Super excited,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time, so it is crazy that it is finally here.”

Kyle hopes to bring back home a gold medal and has a message for anyone following his journey.

“Don’t give up,” he said. “It’s going to be a lot of obstacles and challenges in your way, just keep pursuing your dreams.”

Copyright 2022. Western Mass News (WGGB/WSHM). All rights reserved.

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