Oct 31, 2017
Posted in: Community Support
By James Oloo
Spinal Cord Injury Saskatchewan (SCI) recently held its 18th Annual Wheelchair Relay in Saskatoon. Gabriel Dumont Institute sponsored the event at the Silver level and entered a relay team, The Sashy Wheelers, which included Team Captain, Bill Lehne, Team members Brody Parent, Gary Kichula, Dwayne Docken, and James Oloo.
Bill Lehne, an Employment Services Manager at Gabriel Dumont Institute Training & Employment in Saskatoon is the President of Spinal Cord Injury Saskatchewan. Bill has been involved with the organization since 1983. He noted that “The wheelchair relay is a signature fundraising event that creates public awareness on adversity faced by persons with disabilities.”
Up to 14 teams participated in the relay. Most of the participants were able-bodied individuals who have been impacted by spinal cord injury.
Through a team effort involving the Institute employees and their families, the Gabriel Dumont Institute Team collectively raised over $5,000 for Spinal Cord Injury Saskatchewan and was recognized for being the highest fundraiser. A total of over $20,000 was raised at the event. “It is emotional when you can have your colleagues join and support something that is so dear to your heart outside of work,” Bill said.
As well as raising awareness about spinal cord injury and mobility solutions that are available, Spinal Cord Injury Saskatchewan provides support services to people across the province facing mobility challenges. Bill noted that young males continue to be at a high risk for spinal cord injury, and that SCI Saskatchewan will keep doing its part to raise awareness. He pointed out that for SCI Saskatchewan, “The whole spectrum of rehabilitation after spinal cord injury is a lifelong learning process, and is more than just healing, mobility, education or employment.”
While passionately discussing plans for next year’s wheelchair race, Bill stated that Spinal Cord Injury Saskatchewan will look for more growth, higher fundraising targets, and more wheelchair relay teams. Further, the organization will engage in partnership development with the community and stakeholders including first responders.
On behalf of the Spinal Cord Injury Saskatchewan, Bill thanked volunteers and sponsors and stated: “Do not wait for your ship to come in, swim out to meet it. Be a swimmer.” Like swimmers, let us all join Bill and the Spinal Cord Injury Saskatchewan as they do their best to increase awareness and support those with spinal cord injury and mobility challenges.