Adaptations: The CCASC Newsletter 7th - Page 7

Participant Profile : Cesar Gonzalez
By Matt Lloyd
Cesar Gonzalez doesn ’ t hesitate when he has a date with Adaptive .
Up before dawn at his home in Porterville in Tulare County , the 30-year-old heads first to the Amtrak station to pick up a buddy he ’ s known since the sixth grade who has taken the train from Los Angeles .
Together for the long drive up the mountain , Cesar and his friend Jesse Jimenez know they are in for an exciting day skiing with Central California Adaptive Sports Center .
“ Just do it - you have nothing to lose and so much to gain ,” Cesar says .
Cesar has spinal dysplasia , a form of skeletal dysplasia that was onset a birth . Unable to walk , he uses a wheelchair .
Originally from East Los Angeles , Cesar works in customer service for a health network . Before moving to the Central Valley five years ago , he was an usher at Dodger Stadium , greeting fans as they filed into the iconic stadium to see their favorite baseball team . Moving to Porterville was a big change .
“ I got to see every home game ,” he says . “ Coming out here was pretty difficult from being in the city . My neighbor has a donkey .”
Seeking connections , Cesar came across Adaptive in 2017 and its assortment of activities for disabled athletes . He had tried
skiing once before and was intrigued . He sent Executive Director Randy Coffman an email and soon was signed up for his first program .
How was that first day at China Peak ?
“ Liberating . I felt pretty free ,” Cesar says “ I didn ’ t know what I could do . Being with Randy was different ; just the way he talks . And the team looks out for safety number one . That helped me out . Just doing it my way , I wouldn ’ t have learned anything .”
Three years later , Cesar is an Adaptive participant during both the winter and summer seasons . He has gone sit-skiing , mountain biking , paddleboarding , fishing and camping .
One of his strengths has always been determination : “ If something ’ s there , I try to do it myself ,” he says .
He ’ s also full of compassion , from providing for girlfriend Daisy and daughter Luna to recruiting one of his oldest friends to get in on the action with Adaptive .
“ I got lucky finding them ,” Cesar says . “ It changed my whole perspective just on living out here in general .
“ It became something to look forward to .”
6