140 year of Shriners

140 year of Shriners

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

World Class Paralympic Athlete



By: Steven Brand


Shriners Hospitals for Children Hosts Screening of World Class Paralympic Athlete Willie Stewart’s Documentary
“Armed for the Challenge”


Los Angeles, CA – August 6, 2008 – Shriners Hospital for Children – Los Angeles welcomed Willie Stewart, a disabled athlete who has overcome the loss of one of his arms to become a silver medalist in the 2002 Paralympics games in Nordic skiing and now a world class tri-aththlete. Willie met with patients from the hospital’s Child Amputee Prosthetic Project (CAPP) to tell of his experiences and screen his documentary, “Armed for the Challenge.” In the film, Willie shows his take-charge approach to life and his refusal to accept defeat as he competes in triathlons. These grueling events consist of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 miles of cycling, and 26 miles of running.
Vivian Yip, Occupational Therapist and organizer of the event states, “Willie has shown our patients, families and staff that through determination and strength can overcome the stereotype that people with disabilities can’t compete at a world class level.” She continues, “It is very important for the kids and their families to hear from someone such as Willie so that they can see first hand what they can accomplish in spite of their disability.” The focus of CAPP is to assist children suffering from limb deficiencies,

whether they are congenital (from birth) or acquired. CAPP provides child amputees with state-of-the-art prosthesis and total rehabilitation, including design, fabrication, and training in the use of their prosthetic devices. Patients also receive psychosocial counseling to better integrate into their home life situation.
It is clear to Willie that the encouragement and motivation he provides to other physically disabled individuals has been a turning point in his life. For all of his success as an athlete, Willie states, “There is no greater feeling than to be able to come to the hospital and help to motivate these young patients to not accept any limitations in what they can achieve.” Willie Stewart is not someone who likes to live in the past. He will always be out there, discovering new challenges and adventures in which to participate.

{Photo captions: 1 - Willie Stewart poses with Shriners Hospitals CAPP patient Kayara during his recent visit to the hospital. 2 - Willie Stewart on his bike competing in a triathalon.}
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