■ Matt McPherson / Columnist
Melissa Littlefield founded Littlefield Physical Therapy over 12 years ago with a goal of bringing her knowledge and skills to hundreds of children with physical disabilities. Currently Littlefield operates three facilities in Temecula, Murrieta and Hemet.
The Hemet facility on the southwest corner of Sanderson and Stetson avenues is undergoing a large expansion to accommodate the growing demand in the valley. Once a year, Littlefield helps coordinate and sponsors the Special Games for athletes of all ages who want to compete and accomplish their goals.
The ninth annual Temecula Special Games kicked off this year early in April with hundreds in attendance. The day was initiated with a parade of all the athletes and followed by the pledge of allegiance led by a local Boy Scout Troop color guard that coordinated the American flag ceremony. With more than two dozen events, the day was filled with endless victories.
Each athlete is paired with a volunteer or two depending on their needs. It is amazing to see who experiences greater joy, the volunteers who get to connect with an athlete or the athletes themselves? Many parents enjoy watching from the sidelines, a well deserved break, as the athletes participate in such Olympic events as the long jump, the ring toss, or the very popular soccer goal.
As a major sponsor, Littlefield Therapy is a tremendous asset to children and their families who work hard to overcome physical setbacks. Littlefield Therapy has been a sponsor to the Temecula special games from its inception nine years ago. The Temecula Special Games are incredibly rewarding event right from the beginning. Melissa Littlefield had this to say:
“There’s never a dry eye when the high school cheerleading team forms an archway for each of the athletes to run through, giving each athlete the knowledge that they are an incredible athlete to be celebrated!” said Melissa Littlefield. “The therapists and employees at Littlefield especially enjoy the celebration because we get to see clients that have graduated and have moved onto integrated community activities, meeting our mutual therapeutic and lifetime goals. Additionally, the special games keep us in touch with our graduates and lets us watch and hear about the struggles and successes of “our” children throughout their growing years.”
The Temecula Special Games are open to any adult with a disability, making it especially rewarding to see our older adults with disabilities, even into their 50s and 60s, joyfully and eagerly participating. And the myriad of volunteers learned more than they might have anticipated about what really matters in life. When each athlete finishes and has their medal hung around their neck, they can be proud that they are part of a terrific community of supporters and loved ones. Littlefield Therapy is located at 1191 S. Sanderson Ave, Hemet.