Throughout her childhood, Catarina experienced spells of asthma and used a home nebulizer and inhalers for rescue. She could not run fast like the other kids in school and could not tolerate the Florida heat; her weight caused her both mental and physical trouble. She withdrew socially and though her grades were always good she tried to fail because of being picked on at school. Her mother saw a flyer for one free gymnastics lesson at Gymtech in Lakeland, FL and took her to a class. She tried her best and loved it. A year after she began gymnastics her doctor saw her; she was impressed and said she has never seen Catarina healthier.
The doctor is pleased with her healthy weight and attributes that to her workouts at the gym as well as from gymnastics. She has not had to use her rescue inhaler or nebulizer again. Now physically fit she has come out of her shell and is a social butterfly, now a 4th grader at 5th grade reading level and is on the honor roll. Gymnastics has completely turned her life around for the better. At age 9, Catarina participated in her very first competition on Sept. 12th of 2009.