Canadian Paralympian and Parapan Am hopeful visit with kids at Variety Village and Holland Bloorview
TORONTO, Aug. 7, 2014 /CNW/ - CIBC (TSX: CM) (NYSE: CM) - Canadian Paralympians Josh Cassidy and Stephanie Dixon and Parapan Am hopeful Cody Caldwell joined CIBC today in encouraging kids with disabilities to participate in sports to celebrate the one-year countdown to the TORONTO 2015 Parapan American Games.
"It's shocking that of the four million Canadians living with a disability only three per cent of them are involved in sport," said Josh, a CIBC Team Next mentor. "It just underscores how important it is to have the Parapan Am Games here in Canada to help motivate kids to be active and play sports.
"Growing up with a physical disability forced me to learn how to adapt, in order to achieve. I want to be able to share this message to anyone dealing with limitations, that anything is possible," added Josh, who was diagnosed after birth with neuroblastoma cancer that he conquered but which left his legs partially paralyzed. He is a five-time Canadian wheelchair racing champion and recorded the fastest time ever set by a man in a wheelchair in the 2012 Boston Marathon. "Wheelchair Racing gave me the opportunity to fully participate in sport, and exercise my determination with goals to pursue."Fellow CIBC Team Next mentor Stephanie and CIBC Team Next athlete Cody visited with children and put on clinics today in Toronto at Variety Village, which offers specialized programs and services to young people with disabilities, and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Canada's largest children's rehabilitation hospital. They were joined by PACHI, the TORONTO 2015 mascot, and CIBC representatives. "We hope to change the perception of what it means to live with a disability," said Stephanie, who was born with one leg and has not only competed with athletes without disability her whole life but also set several world records and won 19 Paralympic medals, the second most in Canadian history. "As we count down the days to next year's Parapan Am Games, I'm really excited for Canadians to embrace the para-sport movement."