Dolphin Quest raises money for WindReach
Dolphins have been known to do amazing things, and now they can add helping the physically challenged to play sports to their list of feats.
Dolphins and staff at Dolphin Quest and the National Museum of Bermuda in Dockyard raised over $5,000 for the adaptive sports programme at WindReach Recreational Village during a special fundraising initiative last month.
The adaptive sports programme at WindReach allows people with physical and mental challenges to take part in sports such as swimming, basketball, archery and horseback riding, by providing special equipment and environments better suited to people with challenges.
About 300 people attended the special fundraising day at Dolphin Quest. The Bermuda National Museum, which houses Dolphin Quest, donated gate sales to WindReach, and Dolphin Quest sold tickets to feed the dolphins and have photographs taken with them. They also held a bake sale.
“Dolphin Quest has several facilities in the United States as well as Bermuda,” said Erica Fulton, executive director of WindReach. “The fundraising event was inspired by one of the American owners of Dolphin Quest, Dr Rae Stone. Her son, Forrest Stone Allen, was in a snowboarding accident in January of this year. He suffered a broken back and a traumatic brain injury.
“For the past ten or 11 months he has been absorbed in rehabilitation and Dr Stone saw adaptive sports in action. She wanted to use Dolphin Quest to raise money for adaptive sports programmes, and Dolphin Quest Bermuda decided to raise money for WindReach.”
About 60 people take part in sports at WindReach each year, with equipment and events tailored to the needs of people with challenges.
To better run the programme, WindReach has hired a new adaptive sports co-ordinator, Troy Farnsworth, who will be starting at the end of this month.
“WindReach is excited about adaptive sports,” said Miss Fulton. “The programme is unique in Bermuda. We have a whole range of sports according to whatever demand we are getting from our participants. It is a great opportunity for people with physical and mental challenges, and has a number of benefits such as increasing quality of life and providing opportunities for socialising and bringing people together.
“People who may have physical or intellectual challenges might be denied from playing mainstream sports. It is an opportunity for people to get together and have fun.”
Some participants take part in adaptive sports on a casual basis, while others want to take it to a competitive level. Jessica Lewis, 18, hopes to soon compete in wheelchair track in Guadalajara, Mexico next year.
She is currently training, while studying at Brock University in Canada; Ashlee Brady-Kelly, has taken part in overseas riding competitions.
“When you see people taking part in adaptive sports, you realise that people are amazingly able to adapt,” said Miss Fulton. “They are still able to do things, but maybe slightly differently. It is incredible to see the skill and agility of our athletes.”
Miss Fulton said WindReach was very grateful to Dolphin Quest for raising the money for the adaptive sports programme.
“In this economic climate fundraising can be such as difficult thing,” Miss Fulton said. “We were so thrilled when Dolphin Quest contacted us and told us about their plans to raise money for us. We are equally inspired by Forrest and his family.”
The WindReach Common Ground Expo 2011 will be held on November 25. The open house is designed so that the general public can learn more about WindReach’s programmes. Local and international speakers and an adaptive sports demonstration will be featured.
For information telephone 238-2469, e-mail windreach[AT]windreach.bm or www.windreachbermuda.bm .
For information about Forrest Allen visit http://forreststoneallen.blogspot.com/.