Oct 26, 2013
the media has failed us!!!
Oct 22, 2013, I had the honor & pleasure of meeting Kelsey LeFevour and Raymond Martin. Never heard of them? Huh...I wonder why that be because US lacks a strong recognition of handicap sports. Ever heard of the Paralympics…No? but have you heard of the Olympics…my guess is you said “yes”. I found this on the paralympic.org site, "The first Paralympic Games were held in Rome, Italy in 1960 and featured 400 athletes from 23 countries. In 1976 Örnsköldsvik, Sweden staged the first Paralympic Winter Games. The Games are now the second biggest sporting event in the world." huh...2nd biggest sporting event in the WORLD, yet there are so many who have never heard of it.
I guess I should give you a little background on how I came about meeting Kelsey & Ray. I work for the federal government and one of the things that I do is organize the DoD monthly observances for the people within the organization. There are roughly 13,000 people who works for the organization that I work for and I have to find presenters/speakers that fit into these monthly observances. The goal/idea is to help educate others on what these monthly observances mean and to help educate people and to show them that everyone is different and different isn’t bad and how different can help us move ahead in the work force.
Back to how I meet Kelsey and Ray…October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and I was doing some google-ing and came across the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana disability services site and started to check it out. You will come to find out that I am a “runner”. I use that lightly because, well, there’s a lot of walking that’s involved because…I don’t train I just go out there and finish races. Yea, I’ll run 2-4 miles here and there, every so often but I don’t train like one should for a ½ (13.1) or full marathon (26.2). I know…STUPID!!! But hey, no matter what time I finish in…I still get a medal!!!
Anyway, I have seen several runners in wheelchairs during the races that I have done. I have always been in such AWE as I see them fly through the course. So of course I was drawn to the track and field team of the U of I disability serves website. I contacted the U of I’s track and field coach and he put me in contact with Kelsey & Ray. After some email traffic back and forth we scheduled their meeting.
Prior to their speaking engagement, I had to compile their bio’s and take it up to my bosses. My poor co-worker had to hear be complain about this several times. Now, I know Wikipedia is NOT the most reliable source; however it gives you a pretty good direction, most of the times. This was NOT one of those times. As I am searching for bio’s online on Kelsey and Ray and I keep coming up empty handed!!!
How does this happen? I have 2 awesome athletes and I can’t find another other than, “Raymond Martin (born January 2, 1992) is an American Paralympic athlete. He won four gold medals at the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games in the T52 wheelchair racing category.”REALLY!!!! Thanks, WIKI, Google and all other media sources!!! This guy won 4 gold medals at the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games….and I get 2 sentences!!!! I was completely embarrassed and for lack of better words…pissed off, that I had to ask them both to send me their bio’s because the media had failed me.
I ended up getting their Bio's and the presentation went off without any issues. The turn out was not what I would of liked it to be, however I did have quite a few people come up to me later in the day and apologies for missing it because they heard it was AMAZING! I also had several people who where there that were very impressed by Kelsey and Ray. Not only by their accomplishments but by them as well.
I know there are not many that follow this blog right now..heck maybe ever...but I ask that we start using social media to get this type of information out to educate people. Start spreading the word about these amazing people and athletes they deserve the recognition that they have earned.