The creation of this $1 million fund will give hundreds of children the chance to dream by providing special access to sports at the MAB-Mackay – and the smile on their faces is priceless to me.
Double Olympic Champion
Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014
All children benefit from sports and physical activity, and children with physical impairments are no exception. However, due to their disabilities, these children face considerable challenges when it comes to participating in sports.
For a child in a wheelchair or with limited use of their arms or legs, there are few opportunities to participate in many of the leisure and sports activities of their able-bodied peers. They may require special equipment or other assistance, and often tire easily.
For a child that is blind or partially-sighted, sports are often considered impractical or even dangerous by parents. Deaf children face communication barriers with their teammates, coaches and officials.
At school, these children are often chosen last for sports teams or simply left out of the activity altogether. As a result, children with disabilities tend to lack confidence, have lower levels of fitness, and are more at risk for obesity.
“Participating in adapted sports makes me feel like I belong. I’ve played wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, horseback riding, and luge hockey. This has shown me that despite my disability, I can be active.”
Pamela, 15 years old
“Trenton has a genetic anomaly affecting multiple parts of his body. Through hippotherapy, he was able to target occupational, physio, and speech and language therapy. He always looked forward to seeing the horses and was proud to demonstrate his new skills.” – Brenda, mother of 8-year-old Trenton
From a physical perspective, sports promote balance, coordination, gross motor function, agility, and body awareness – each of which are important therapeutic goals. It also increases cognitive skills such as spatial awareness, timing, as well as split second decision-making and strategic thinking.
From a psycho-social perspective, sports help children learn sportsmanship and how to make new friends. They learn real-life values, such as acceptance of people’s differences, inclusion and teamsmanship. Parents learn that their child can participate in activities with others their age, and come to recognize new opportunities for their child. By setting and reaching goals that once seemed unattainable, children with physical impairments learn the value of endurance and gain self-confidence and self-esteem.
Far and above the physical benefits, sports provide a welcome escape from an often inactive lifestyle and from the social isolation often felt by children with a disabilty.
It is truly a celebration of the human spirit.
The MAB-Mackay Rehabilitation Centre is renowned for the creative use of sports in its personalized rehabilitation programs. It is at the heart of our treatment philosophy.
Our carefully-designed and implemented sports programs are organized with consideration of each child’s ability, preference, safety and special equipment needs.
“The MAB-Mackay pool therapy program has been such an important and fun part of Lauren’s ongoing therapy. It not only reduces pain and relaxes her, but also allows her to be more than a child with a disability.” – Amanda, 4-year old Lauren’s mother
The MAB-Mackay is the result of an historic merger in 2006 between the Mackay Centre (founded in 1869) and the Montreal Association for the Blind (founded in 1908). In this time, we have become a leader in serving children with motor impairments or communication disorders, as well as people of all ages who are blind or visually impaired, or are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
Our mission is to provide personalized rehabilitation support, life skills training and tools that promote personal autonomy and optimize community participation of people with physical impairments. Our vision is to empower people with physical and sensory impairments to lead fulfilling and independent lives. Services are offered in English and French.
The MAB-Mackay is the only institution in Montreal that serves children with vision, hearing, motor and language impairments under one roof.
Last year, the MAB-Mackay helped 1,680 children to realize their true potential and enjoy a better quality of life.
The MAB-Mackay Foundation plays a central role in ensuring that the centre can continue to provide impactful programs such as adapted sports that government funding cannot sustain.
Your support is essential in helping physically-impaired children attain new levels of achievement previously believed to be out of their reach, and inspire them to live their lives to the fullest through sports.
The future of our adapted sports programs depends on you.