Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • April-May 2024 • Circulation 5000

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Sports Excellence

When it comes to sports it is easy to think of great ones like Wayne Gretzky and David Beckham. However, you would be surprised at how many people with physical disabilities have been able to show excellence in sports – some even in our community!

I reside in the ArtSpace Cooperative and several of my neighbours are accomplished athletes. A familiar face in the neighbourhood is Ken Thomas. Although he is in a wheelchair, he ranks as one of the greatest athletes I have ever met! Ken is a decorated racer in his wheelchair competing in events worldwide. He is also the subject of an amazing documentary called Catching my Breath which chronicles his life and his determination to be included in the World Masters Games held in Edmonton (where he ended up winning gold!).

I am truly amazed at the community here that participates in wheelchair rugby, floor hockey, and other sports with the agility and strength of a professional. It often makes me think of this saying: “What was garnered to hold you back, can propel you further.”

These individuals have become mentors to me as I partook in a season of adapted downhill skiing with the Canadian Association of Disabled Skiers (CADS) which runs a seasonal program at Rabbit Hill. Before my setback I was very active in skiing. I thought the “thrill of the hill” would be diminished but I adapted, enjoyed, and experienced it again!

I was awed to be able to meet Viviane Forest, a gold medal winning Olympic athlete who claimed victory at the Vancouver Paralympics. Ms. Forest is also a motivational speaker and teaches a message of courage and determination. She was the keynote speaker at the 2010 International Day of the Disabled held every December 3 where I was able to witness the amazing game of sledge hockey!

If you are one of the community that has experienced or was born with a disability, never say never because the “thrill of the hill” and the “pass of the puck” can still be achieved!

Ian is a resident of Boyle Street, a member of the Advisory Board for Services for Persons with Disabilities for the City of Edmonton, and the recipient of the Glenrose Award of Courage.

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