In the past couple of weeks, there has been two occasions that I have been overwhelmingly inspired.
The first instance was when Canada's Alex Bilodeau won the first ever Gold medal in a Canadian hosted Winter Olympic games. What was so inspiring was the connection between Alex and his older brother Fredric Bilodeau who has cerebral palsy. When Alex spoke of the influence that his older brother had in his life in the interviews after winning the Gold medal - his feelings were so raw and real. He told reporters that Fredric is his inspiration - he has taught him so many things in my life and has motivated him to never give up.
After winning the Gold medal, Alex Bilodeau kept talking about how he won this for Frederic, his brother. He credits his brother's influence for contributing to his success in the men's mogul. As Bilodeau told the Toronto Star, "I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have the same perseverance if I didn't grow up with him. I'm someone who never quits, even in training. I'm going to fight until the last moment, until I crash really bad." Whenever Alexandre struggled with the ins and outs of competition, he would ask himself what his brother would have done in the same situation. Having a brother in a wheelchair must have given him a sense of perspective. Even in the most rigorous moments of training and practice, he could always remind himself that his brother would never have even had the opportunity to do what he was doing.
Seeing the beautiful connection between these two brothers was so touching. The love, respect and admiration that Alex showed for his brother Fredric was absolutely heart warming. The fact that Alex became a skier at the age of eight - after being forced to leave the sport of hockey because his family wanted him to be involved in a sport that the whole family could particpate in got me thinking...
Maureen our PT has always suggested skiing as a possible outdoor sport for our family to participate in. Hearing Alex and Fredric's story inspired me to explore this possibilty closer for Ciaran and Shay. I contacted TRACK 3 which is a Ski Association in Ontario that is a volunteer non-profit charitable organization that teaches children and youth with disabilities to downhill ski and snowboard. It's mission is to discover ability through the magic of snow sports. I called - kids can start skiing/snowboarding with them at the age of six - something we will definitely partake in, in the coming years.
Don't be surprised to see them in the 2030 Paralympics!!