Mckayla Jones will be heading to the University of Illinois to play wheelchair basketball after graduating from Social Circle High School next month. The University of Illinois shared the signing on its Facebook page on April 13.
Mckayla, who will be 16 when she graduates, suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident when she was 3, but she hasn’t let that hold her back from achieving her dreams says her mother, Hope Jones.
“She has been playing competitively for 4 years. University of Illinois was Mckayla first pick because they are leading the way for disability athletes,” Jones said. “As Mckayla’s mom it was always very important to me to treat Mckayla like she could accomplish anything her heart desired. She climbed Stone Mountain a few months ago. After the car accident in 2004 left Mckayla with a spinal cord injury, I thought her dreams wouldn’t come to reality.”
But that was not the case. Jones says her daughter is a “very bright young lady with an amazing future ahead of her.” It was not always easy for Jones either after being widowed and left to raise three children. The family may be remembered from The Well, a healthy fast food restaurant that opened in Monroe for a brief stint a few years back. It closed when Jones needed to take a job that provided health insurance. She said she is now focused on being a mom to her three children.
“As a single mom it hasn’t been easy. The team that Mcksyls was with demand a lot money, time and travel but it was a sacrifice that I knew as a family we had to do,” Jones said.
When Mckayla climbed Stone Mountain last year, her mother was right there with her, helping carry the wheelchair when needed.