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RHONDA MARIE-AVERY FOR ACHILLES CANADA You come to a place in your life where you know in order to care about someone else’s needs intensely, you have to take care of yourself. The only way to calm my youngest boy down, who has ADHD, was put him in the jogging stroller. I was diagnosed legally blind when I was three. Before that, I was told to stop misbehaving, instead of being led by someone across the playground to the slide. I hooked up with Achilles Canada, a non-profit that encourages people with disabilities to run, and they taught me how to be brave enough to accelerate knowing that there’s the potential of hitting a car. My son continued needing me in a way that I had to be super focussed and so I began running and it helped me be my best me, to help him. The culture doesn’t even know it discriminates against people with disabilities and so I think my visibility helps in order to have conversations. “People with disabilities can’t do that,” is a lot of people’s viewpoints and it’s one of the reasons I run: what does visionimpaired look like? A vision-impaired mother just ran the Bruce Trail! It’s important to create awareness. It’s one thing to have values and speak about them, but if you’re not willing to get on the front lines and work, you should stop talking: you can’t stand up for change sitting down. People tell me stories of their uncle who lost their vision and how they struggle losing their independence. It doesn’t have to be that way! Other disabled people who aren’t athletes are saying things like, ‘If you’re running in the mountains, I don’t have to be afraid to go to the grocery store.’ See, my every day isn’t this big adventure. Can I make it to the bus stop without getting run over? Can I pick my son up from high school? We don’t know how as a society to help people fit in like that and we need to talk about that more. There’s a place for people with disabilities. And it’s definitely not on the sidelines where we’re put.


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iRun ISSUE06 2016  
iRun ISSUE06 2016  

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