By Matt Kroschel

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) — U.S. Paralympians, Wounded Warriors and Boston Marathon survivors are among 800 participants at The Hartford Ski Spectacular going on this week In Summit County — but all eyes were on three disabled young athletes who received a big surprises Thursday.

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U. S. Paralympic Medalist and Tokyo hopeful in Triathlon Hailey Danz took to a microphone to make the special announcement.

“We want to make sure that this person is able to ski with their family for many years to come,” Danz said.

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With that she presented one of the three sets of adaptive sports gear worth thousands of dollars to the lucky athletes.

For 21-year-old Colleen Murphy, this hasn’t been an easy few years. A paraplegic, she’s had three major surgeries — and recently lost her mom to cancer. That’s why this surprise donation means so much right now.

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“I had no clue — I looked at the equipment I was just in shock. I was like, ‘Is that for me?’ I didn’t know who it was for, and then when they said my name I was more shocked — I’m in still in shock,” Murphy told CBS4.

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“Independence means the world…The Hartford gave me an opportunity I might not of had before. Adaptive equipment has a very high cost. [It] is not always accessible. They brought me some I’ll be able to use for the rest of my life,” she added.

(credit: CBS)

The week-long event is among the nation’s largest and longest running winter adaptive sports festivals for individuals with physical disabilities.

Matt Kroschel

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