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Local non-profit making a splash to help people of all abilities have year round pool access

FRESNO, Calif. - Break the Barriers, an non-profit organization helping children and adults with disabilities, is now working on expanding their outdoor pool so people can swim all year round. Staff said this comes after many children were turned away from public swimming pools.

The pool is a place Gulf War veteran Ron Gary finds rest. He gets to swim every day for free.

"Well I lost my diaphragm and it's never going to get better but swimming helps with my breathing," he said.

So Gary uses Break the Barrier's outdoor pool to build up strength.

"It was very depressing. I went through a lot. I can't breath. To work up to swimming was a real triumph for me," he said.

Children and adults of all ages and all levels of ability come to the facility, but it's only open half the year which Co-Founder Deby Hergenrader said is not enough. She and her team are fundraising so it can soon become an inside pool complete with roof and retractable windows which will make it usable all year round.

"Exercise above ground is okay but exercise in the water is magical," she said.

Whether they're training for a competition, rehabilitation, or learning to swim the pool is a safe space for each one who dives in.

Break the Barriers will be kicking off their 'Raise the Roof' campaign on May 18th. For more information or to donate, click here.


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