Adaptive Adventure · Through the Power of Sport

Owen’s Ride: One 16 Year Old’s Quest for Adaptive Sports Awareness

owens-ride
Here are the boys with pictured with their support vehicle, which will be driven by Owen’s dad, Mark.  

Watch out East Coast: here comes a 16 year old boy kind of hurricane in the form of Owen, Bryce and Matthew.   This summer, Owen will use the East Coast Greenway to cycle 2,900 miles from Calais, Maine to Key West, Florida to build awareness for Adaptive Sports Awareness, a non profit organization he began that fosters, supports and promotes opportunities in adaptive programs for members of the disabled community.  For Owen, this venture is a chance to educate and bring awareness to the cause while also inspiring confidence to those who have not yet experienced the irreplaceable freedoms adaptive sports has to offer.  During their cycling adventure south, Owen’s stops will include rehabilitation hospitals and community speaking opportunities to share involvement in disabled sports, educating people about the impact of adaptive programs and encouraging others to discover the liberation of engaging in outdoor activities.

Recently,  Owen shared the following:

“I am hoping this ride will be a great opportunity for both the adaptive  community and me. This is just the start for Adaptive Sports Awareness, and we imagine many other events that we host and participate in to raise awareness for adaptive sports. Owen’s Ride is the best way to introduce ASA, and as a disabled athlete who skis and bikes and does a bunch of other crazy adventures, I know first hand how these experiences have shaped my life for the better.  We’ll be stopping along the way to help whomever needs assistance with adaptive sports.  Other adaptive athletes like the ones I’ve grown up with will also be joining us for different sections of the ride.  We just can’t wait for this all to take place; our training has been ongoing, and we really appreciate any financial support for the trip.”

Owen is joined by his good friend Matthew and cousin Bryce, also high school students.  Bryce writes, “Adaptive Sports Awareness and this bike ride are important to me because I will be supporting my cousin and showing people that no matter what disability someone might have, as long as they put their mind and heart to it, anything is possible.”

Bryce’s mom, Ginette, added, “What these three 16 year old boys will accomplish by the end of their ride is an inspiration to us all.  Their dedication towards the goal to inspire and raise awareness for Adaptive Sports will hopefully reach an individual so that he or she can achieve a dream of their own.”

Owen is an Eagle Scout, forever problem solving how to best handle a challenge and grateful to the world of adaptive sports for their role in his life.  His dad, Mark, shared how happy they were when Owen was born.  “All was good in the world,” he begins, “I had a son whom I could teach a trade to, hike with, camp with and everything a father imagines. Then when he was two, we got the diagnosis and all my plans seem to disappear. Fast forward 14 years, and I can’t help but recognize what more could a father ask for from a son. Owen is everything I hoped he would grow up with: personality, athleticism and a true desire to want to help and teach what he’s learned from everyone who has helped guide him through his incredibly wonderful life.”

I, too, am one of the lucky ones who has been able to watch Owen grow up from a little boy to this young man ready to take on the world.  When I first met him, my husband, Geoff, was the Sports Director for New England Disabled Sports at Loon Mountain.  He and another great mono-skier Cam Shaw Doran, Director of Research and Development for the Turtle Ridge Foundation, were trying to teach him how to progress from a bi-ski to a mono ski. Cam writes, “I’ve been coaching Owen from the time he was just eight years old, and he’s really become like a little brother to me. It’s been an incredible journey to witness Owen realize his passion for the outdoors. He’s worked so hard, and it’s inspiring for everyone to watch his progress to becoming an elite athlete.”
Mary Patstone, Network Director of Adaptive Sports and Recreation through Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, echos these sentiments and believes, “Owen is unstoppable. He is an amazing son, an accomplished athlete, a poised speaker, a ready voice for disability education and advocacy, and a tremendously fun friend too! As he grows up, we should all be watching him.”

What teachers around the world will agree is the best part of education is when one’s student leaves the classroom to approach the next challenge on his or her own.  Then we watch as independence moves them onward.  Geoff Krill also wants the adaptive and able- bodied world alike to watch this young man.  “Owen embodies everything that is great about adaptive sports, perseverance, inclusion, and the desire to pass the knowledge and stoke forward! Owen’s ride will accomplish all of those, and we wish him every bit of luck on this very cool adventure.”

For more information about Owen’s Ride, please check out: http://adaptivesportsawareness.org/ or if you would like to make a donation to contribute to supporting this epic adventure http://adaptivesportsawareness.org/donations/.  His story will be featured on Chronicle in December so stay tuned.

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