Friday, April 12, 2013

OH NO! It happened again. A family is denied membership because their child has Down Syndrome.

I can not believe this.  Well, maybe I can.  A family id denied membership to their local gym because their teen happens to have Down Syndrome.  Really?  You have got to be kidding. Read on to learn about this family.  Do we really need to "point out" that we have a child that is different?  I think not.

Family: Teen with down syndrome turned away from gym

Posted: Apr 10, 2013 3:39 PM PDTUpdated: Apr 10, 2013 3:50 PM PDT
(WMC-TV) - A Mid-South family with two children says they tried to join a fitness center earlier this week but were turned away because the staff was not trained to deal with one of their children, who has Down Syndrome.
"After we purchased our family membership, we could only bring three-quarters of our family," said mother Sherrie Cates.
No matter the day or circumstance, 13-year-old Mollie Cates is a happy young lady.
Her parents said they were shocked at how they were treated when they took Mollie and her older sister to Ripley Family Fitness Center Monday.
"We got turned away because of her," said father Kevin Cates.
Kevin and his wife said it was the first time all four family members had been to the gym together.
"Their brochure says they don't turn anyone away, anyone can come in. But, we were met at the door and they said their staff isn't trained to deal with anyone like Mollie," said Sherrie.
Sherrie said her daughter is in a regular class at school and even participates in physical education. She said there is no reason she should not be able to go to the gym.
"We were never given a chance to say, 'We'll be with her. This is how we can work with her.' We were just told, 'No, there's no one here who can work with her,'" said Sherrie.
The gym is owned and operated by the city of Ripley.  City attorney Steve Crain said the gym has never come in contact with a customer with Down Syndrome.
Crain says they are working now on ways to accommodate Mollie Cates.
"She needs to be strong and healthy just like everyone else. I want her to have that chance," said Kevin.
City Attorney Steve Crain says the Cates family never included Mollie's name on the official application, which also requires a doctor's statement for membership.
Crain calls the whole thing a misunderstanding.
Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

What do you think?

Be gentle.


  1. I saw this, too. I mean our kids can't walk on a treadmill in public? What makes this worse is that this gym is run by the city they live in! Argh!

  2. "Not trained to deal with anyone like Mollie"? And why the heck not??
    Train them!!!

  3. What a sad story. I hope you can find an inclusive gym, a place where you are all welcome.
    In the meantime your story will bring awareness and training.
    Much love from the UK


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