Program raises awareness about spinal cord injuries
Cyndy McLean, director of the Health and Performance Centre, has been selected to take part in the Rick Hansen Foundation's national Ambassador Program to raise awareness about living with spinal cord injuries.
McLean, a former marathon runner and elite-level athlete who suffered a fall in 2003 and is now paraplegic, will speak to community agencies, schools and other local organizations and clubs as an ambassador. She will share her experiences and challenges, promote education and research and encourage involvement in Wheels in Motion fundraising events.
“I hope to use my experience to reach out to others and to educate people about prevention, the need for research and the challenges of living with a spinal cord injury,” she says. “Most people think a spinal cord injury means you sit in a chair and that's the end of it. It's only the beginning.”
About 84 per cent of spinal cord injuries happen to people under 34, so health care and equipment over a lifetime can cost millions of dollars, says McLean.
She also stresses the importance of research, pointing out that about 90 per cent of what is known about spinal cord injuries has been discovered in the past decade.
The Rick Hansen Foundation was created in 1988 by the Canadian Olympic wheelchair marathon champion who wheeled 40,000 kilometres to raise money for research and services. The foundation brings together researchers, service providers and people with spinal cord injuries. One of its main fundraisers is Wheels in Motion; Guelph's event runs June 12 at the Mitchell Athletics Centre.
To arrange a free speaking engagement with McLean, call 836-1812, Ext. 35.
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