Disability charity’s Women of Achievement competing at games for Team GB
Disability charity Vitalise is celebrating a special connection with the London 2012 Paralympics, as no fewer than two of its Women of Achievement compete at the Games for Team GB.
Vitalise will be cheering on its two award-winning paralympians in the Games. Wheelchair tennis ace Lucy Shuker, current holder of the prestigious Vitalise Woman of Achievement Award and Britain’s number one, will be competing in the wheelchair tennis, while Karen Darke, previous holder of the Award, will be competing in the hand-cycling road race and time trial.
Vitalise, which provides essential respite breaks for people with disabilities and carers, has also ensured that its guests can play a part in the historic London Games by securing over 200 tickets. The charity will be taking the guests in adapted vehicles from its Jubilee Lodge centre to spectate at athletics events in the Olympic Stadium over four days of competition.
Meanwhile, at the charity’s Netley Waterside House centre in Southampton, gold medal winning former paralympian Janice Watson will be among the guests enjoying the Paralympics.
Janice, from Dorset, won gold in the Javelin event for visually impaired people at the 1984 games held in Long Island, New York. She will have her gold medal with her to help celebrate the occasion of the Paralympics coming home to its country of origin.
“Back when I won my medal, the Paralympics seemed a very small affair compared with today, almost like an afterthought. The Games weren’t even held at the Olympics venues – that would be unheard of now! I’m so pleased that times have changed and that disability sport is now getting the respect and recognition it deserves.
“The London Paralympics look like being the best ever and I’m pleased that I’ll be at Vitalise to watch them, because like the Games, Vitalise sees the person, not the disability.”
Vitalise is saluting the 2012 Games – set to become the biggest ever – because the charity shares many of the Paralympics’ visions.
Vitalise Chief Executive, Chris Simmonds, explained:
“We are so excited to have the most successful and well-attended Paralympics ever taking place right on our doorstep and we’re determined to ensure our guests get to experience these inspiring Games at first hand.
“Like the Paralympic movement, Vitalise focuses on what people with disabilities can do, not what they can’t. We aim to empower our guests to achieve their personal goals, whatever they may be, and we hope the Games will encourage more people to share our vision.”
“It is great that the Paralympics has given such high visibility to athletes with disabilities. We hope that this visibility now extends to the millions more people with disabilities and carers around the UK, who also deserve our recognition.”