'Beautiful Lives Project,' group for people with disabilities, teams up with LIU for football game

Chanteé Lans Image
Saturday, June 22, 2024
Group for people with disabilities teams up with LIU for football game
Chanteé Lans has details on the 'The Beautiful Lives Project' events for people with disabilities.

GREENVALE, Long Island (WABC) -- 'The Beautiful Lives Project' helps create immersive, life-changing events for people with disabilities.

On Friday morning, the group teamed up with the LIU Sharks for a game of football - and these guys came to play.

"They're out. We bring them out every year. We have a little fun. We get a chance to coach them," said Long Island University Head Football Coach Ron Cooper.

No matter the speed, size or age, the determination remains the same.

"I come here because when I was younger I didn't get to play sports because of my disability. I have seizures, so it prevented me from doing it, but now that it's under control, I will do it more," said Kyle Thompson of East Meadow.

Thompson is one of 25 men invited to play alongside the LIU football team through the Beautiful Lives Project nonprofit.

"The feeling you get just from seeing the faces, the smiles - it's incredible," said Beautiful Lives Project Executive Director Tony Gionfriddo.

Some are a little shy - but their favorite is when they get a touchdown.

"It feels so good to score a touchdown," said Jeffrey Dorhow of Bay Shore.

"In this day and age, not everyone accepts people with disabilities and for these players to accept us on the field is a great honor for me and all of us with disabilities.

LIU Football Left Guard, Donovan Hardin says it warms his heart that they are able to come out and do this every year.

"It's so humbling, it's so exciting - I love every second out here," added LIU Football Center Jake Tim.

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