A little 3-on-3 shows a big message

The West Central Illinois Center for Independent Living is holding its third annual 3-on-3 Wheelchair Basketball tournament this Saturday.

There's nothing like a playing some basketball to pass an afternoon. But what if you couldn't use your legs to get up court?

"One of the biggest problems for people with disabilities is the reflection of what other people think of them," Glenda Hackemack, executive director from West Central Illinois Center for Independent Living, said. "So we wanted to bring an awareness of what they go through."

The way the West Central Illinois Center for Independent Living is doing that, is through its third annual 3-on-3 Wheelchair Basketball tournament. The advocacy agency supports people with disabilities from birth to death assisting them to be as independent as possible and that includes sporting events.

"Just because you're in a wheelchair you can still get out and be active and have a good time," Hackemack said. "You can still play the sports that everyone else gets to play, just with a little modification."

The tourney will be held this Saturday at Quincy University's Health & Fitness Center. starting at 8 a.m. So far there are 15 teams entered to compete, made up of both people that are able bodied and people with disabilities.

"I think people don't really realize what someone who is in a wheelchair has to go through just to do daily function let alone to try to play a sport or get in and out of a business," Hackemack said. "This brings a great awareness to people to let them know what they can do to help their business, event or anything like that."

"It's difficult," Dustin Gorder, an employee from WCICIL who plays in the tourney, said. "Being an able bodied person myself, it's a different aspect on how things go. It's very much an eye opener."

But in the end, Hackemack says people with disabilities are just like you and I.

"Just because somebody's in a wheelchair, they want to be treated just as everyone else does because in the end we're all still people," Hackemack said. "They're just in a little different situation than what we are."

West Central's services are free to people with disabilities. All the funds raised from the tournament will go to support the agency.