19 Mar Supporting the ParaSport Path
There are few sights more thrilling than watching an athlete experience a triumph at a major sporting event. Whether it’s a gold-medal winning performance, a new world record, a personal best, or simply being able to compete after facing injury, adversity, or years of gruelling training, for a few moments in time we share in an experience that means so much to these individuals, their families and friends, and their country.
What we don’t see is the long, lonely and arduous road these athletes have travelled to get to these events. Early morning practices, time spent at the gym, extensive travel to qualifying competitions – few people will ever witness or intimately understand an elite athlete’s journey. But, there are ways for all of us to be there in spirit to help support them, and other athletes, along the way.
The Need for ParaSport
“Do you know what my favorite part of the game is?” asked former NFL football player and current coach Mike Singletary. “The opportunity to play.” Sadly, the opportunity to be actively involved in sports or other physical activities that are a part of a healthy lifestyle is not one that everyone believes they have.
In his youth, Jeff Tiessen was an avid and accomplished hockey player and involved in many other sports pursuits. When a tragic tobogganing accident resulted in a double-arm amputation, Jeff assessed his new reality and concluded that there was nothing he would be able to play as a kid with no hands.
Fortunately, his family encouraged him to get back in the game using equipment adapted by his father. Jeff’s determination to stay active caught the attention of ParaSport Ontario (previously known as Sport for Disabled Ontario). ParaSport Ontario “found me, advocated for me, connected me with many parasports and a sports club, and supported me on my parasport path… which ultimately guided me to the medal podium at three Paralympic Games,” says Jeff, now the organization’s executive director.
Not every ParaSport path will end on the podium, of course; but every time a person with a disability is invited onto the path and encouraged to enjoy all the health benefits that come with leading an active life is a victory for this organization.
As a founding father of Parasport, I am very proud of our firm’s long-standing relationship with the organization and their superb work. We’ve all been immensely privileged to witness athletes and participants on their individual journeys over the years. Sometimes the Parasport path is part of a road to recovery after a life-changing injury like Jeff’s. Other times it’s a decision a person makes to lead a more active life. Whatever their reason for joining ParaSport, these individuals soon learn that “there is a sport or active living opportunity for everyBODY.”
We want to share that message with more people and to provide greater opportunities for the disabled community to get in or stay in the game; but we’ll need your help.
Parasport currently receives very little government assistance and relies heavily upon corporate funding through projects such as The Power of Parasport Book. In hopes of achieving a sustainable funding model, ParaSport has launched a weeklong membership campaign (March 20-27, 2018) with a goal of reaching 100,000 members. Reaching this milestone will open doors to additional corporate sponsorships, donations and access to greater government funding.
Knowing that your membership will help to create opportunities for these athletes is tremendously rewarding in itself; however, as an additional incentive, prizes will be given out to 50-100 new members. As a proud sponsor, Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers has donated tickets to Blue Jays games and some of our always popular Gluckstein Bears.
Why We Help
Working at one of Canada’s top personal injury firms provides opportunities to meet people who have sustained injuries causing life-changing disability every day. When we take on our clients’ cases we make it our mission to support them as they seek the financial and other resources they need to thrive in their lives going forward.
Much in the way elite athletes’ path to get to the podium is long and can take many detours along the way, at Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers we know that our time working directly with clients in settlement negotiations or in the courtroom is only a brief period on their long road to recovery. To be effective advocates, we always keep our mind on the other stages of that journey and how we might be present there – whether in person or in spirit.
Membership in ParaSport is free; but taking the time to sign up as a supporter is truly priceless. A large and active membership is essential to generating sustained interest from funding partners. Moreover, by supporting and becoming actively involved in ParaSport and other organizations that improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities we create long-lasting connections with our clients, better understand the full range of their needs, and receive inspiration and reminders of why our work on their cases matters so much to their well-being.
Please join the team at Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers in supporting the excellent efforts of ParaSport. Visit https://www.parasportontario.ca/index.php/membership/benefits and become a member today.
Written by Bernard L. Gluckstein, Q.C.Gluckstein