Girl With No Hands Should Be Allowed to Ride Rollercoasters

rollercoasterThere's nothing more painful as a parent than being forced to stand by and watch your child get left out. Especially when the activity is something your kid really, really wants to do -- and you know she's capable of doing it. I know the word "heartbreaking" isn't the most original way to describe the experience, but it is the most accurate.

I can only imagine how many times 17-year-old Katie Champagne's parents have had their hearts broken. Born without hands, Katie's been left out of countless activities. There's no question her life has been a struggle, despite her parents best efforts to give her a normal childhood.

But that doesn't mean her parents will ever stop standing up for their daughter's right to do whatever it is she wants to do. Like riding rollercoasters.


Katie loves rollercoasters, which is why the Michigan teen was super-psyched to visit Orlando, unofficial rollercoaster capital of the world. So it was a huge disappointment when she was kicked off of two rollercoasters: SeaWorld's Kraken and Universal Studios' Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.

Why? Apparently "the manufacturers guidelines require that a guest be able to grasp the pull-down harness with at least one hand."

But Champagne says she can grip the harness with her arm. Not only that, but she says SeaWorld allowed her to ride the Kraken once before.

So Champagne knows she's capable of riding a rollercoaster safely. Her parents do, too. That's why they're working with an attorney to protest what could classify as "an unnecessary distinction and possible violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act."

Which is, if you ask me, exactly what her parents should be doing. When our kids are discriminated against, needlessly left out, it's our job to stand up and give them a voice. Of course it would be a different thing entirely if riding a rollercoaster really was dangerous for Champagne. But it's not. Her parents know she's up to the challenge, and they're going to do their best to make sure the rest of the world knows it, too.

Do you think Katie Champagne's parents should fight for her right to ride rollercoasters?

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