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International Day of People with Disabilities - Access to Sport and Recreation

By City Staff

The City of Sarnia and Lambton College invite citizens to celebrate the 4th annual International Day of People with Disabilities and the 2016 theme: Access to Sport and Recreation. A celebration will be held on December 2, 2016 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Lambton College Event Centre, open to the public.

This year's guest speakers are:

Tracy Schmitt - Positive attitude, perseverance and resourcefulness…these are attributes past aspiring paralympian and humorous Motivational Speaker Tracy Schmitt will leave you with as her life story captivates audiences. You would never know it the way she gracefully walks into the room that Tracy was born a 4-way amputee. She has an amazing story to share.

As a four-way amputee, Tracy has climbed mountains in Nepal, captained 110-foot tall ships in the Eastern Atlantic and bronze medalist as a paralympian athlete in alpine skiing…and that's just her first 20 years!  Tracy has also been nominated for the Premier of Ontario Awards twice for her Humanitarian teaching work in Uganda, Jamaica and Mexico. Her latest adventure was as a Quest for the Gold Athlete where Tracy competed in world cup regattas across North America and around the world embarking on a Paralympic Sailing Campaign for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil.

Gabriel Flamminio - Gabe has completed his Bachelor of Human Kinetics from the University of Windsor (1997), his Massage Therapy Diploma from the Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy (1998), and his Bachelor of Education in Adult Education from Brock University (2014).

In over eighteen years as a massage therapist, Gabe has had the pleasure of treating thousands of patients with a wide range of conditions.  He currently has a practice in St. Catharines, but also is the Massage Therapy Program Coordinator at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario.

His career path has also allowed him the opportunity to work with provincial, national, Olympic, and Paralympic athletes (sport specific: Paralympic basketball athletes, Olympic wrestlers, national gymnastics, provincial & national track and field athletes).  Specifically, Gabe has been providing treatment for athletes with Wheelchair Basketball Canada since 2012 and most recently a member of Team Canada medical staff for 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, Men’s and Women’s Wheelchair Basketball teams.

As an avid traveler and avid learner, Gabe has visited several continents and experienced many different cultures. He has had the opportunity to travel across Canada and the United States as well as Cuba, Thailand, France, Iceland, Belgium, England and Brazil in his pursuit of becoming a better therapist.

Dan Edwards - Business Marketing Administration graduate from Lambton College in Sarnia. Dan was born in London, Ontario, along with his twin brother and welcomed by three older siblings. Dan was raised in Sarnia since the age of four. He attended High Park Elementary school and Errol Road Elementary before graduating from St Christopher's Secondary School in 2006.

Dan played on several of St. Christopher’s sports teams but in August 2006, at the age of 18, he was involved in what's been known as a freak accident. While wrestling with a friend, Dan fell and was left paralyzed from the neck down. Over the last ten years this has been both traumatizing and eye opening. Dan says, “Living as a C5-C6 quadriplegic, I've been victimized to not only something shocking but I've witnessed a great deal of compassion from his community.”

After going through a couple surgeries, hours of rehab and keeping true to his faith, Dan has grown to have a better outlook and understanding of others and the difficulties people overcome on a daily basis. Such a change in his lifestyle has taught Dan to be appreciative of little things that generally go unnoticed.

Dan delivers a profound message with enthusiasm and emotion. He continues to believe that this world is filled with opportunities and people that can help make a difference. Dan wants to make a difference in his community the same way his community made a difference in his life.

Amy Brand - Amy is a mother of three children, a boy age 14 and twin girls, age 12, both who have Down syndrome and one who also has Autism. Amy works at Great Lakes Secondary School in Sarnia as a secondary physical education teacher. She is also qualified in Special Education, has attended numerous conferences and workshops, Canada-wide, on the topics of Down syndrome, disabilities, inclusion and advocacy. Amy was the President of the Down syndrome Association, Lambton County for four years. Amy is an advocate of inclusive sport and recreation and ensures her daughters are involved, active and receive the same opportunities as any other kids in Sarnia-Lambton.

The City of Sarnia collaborated with Lambton College’s Developmental Services Worker and Therapeutic Recreation programs for this event.

This article was posted Monday, November 14, 2016 9:30 AM

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