There’s a lot that Alison Levine loves about her hometown of Montréal. There’s the food (Schwartz’s Deli is a personal favourite) and there’s the diversity: “From Chinatown, Little Italy, and in between, it’s like visiting many countries all on one island.”
But for the 29-year-old Paralympian, one of the best parts of home is having access to world-class sport facilities.
After all: sport, she says, is vital to her everyday life.
Alison has a rare degenerative neuromuscular disorder. “It’s so rare that my neurologist has seen only two other patients like me.”
Her disorder causes weakness and spasticity in all of Alison’s muscles. She lives her daily life in a motorized wheelchair but that hasn’t slowed her down at all. In fact, as her mobility issues began to develop around age 12, her drive to compete grew stronger.
“I wanted to get into sport because I felt like something was missing in my life. I wanted to take control of my body.”
Your support is making it possible for Quebeckers with a disability to participate in sport.
Today Alison, as part of Canada’s national boccia team, trains out of the Institut National du Sport du Québec (INS Quebec.)
You can help ensure athletes like Alison can access sport in Quebec.
Moving to a high-performance training environment has helped her and her teammates progress.
“Before our training centre was moved to the INS, we practiced in a community centre that was barely wheelchair accessible and only had two courts,” Alison says.
Now at the INS, the team can practice on six courts, on two different surfaces. They have access to sports psychologists, biomechanics, and other sport scientists.
For Alison, focusing on sport has helped her physically and mentally.
“I think my disability would have degenerated much quicker if I weren’t staying active at all times,” she says.
“On the mental side: sport is what gave me that feeling of control in my life when everything else about my body was going wrong.”
And that’s just one athlete’s story.
Across the country, there are more Canadians with a disability who are looking for opportunities to get involved in sport.
“Nobody accomplishes everything by themselves.
Having a sense of community and a feeling of belonging is something that every human wants and needs in order to thrive.
We all want to feel understood. We all want to be seen, heard and valued.
We are stronger together and when our strength and determination is united, we can all climb so much higher. When Para athletes unite, we raise each other higher and we raise the world to a higher standard of inclusion.”
With your donation to the Paralympic Foundation of Canada, you’re making it easier for Canadians with a disability to be active in their communities and to strive for success on the world stage.
You’re helping create a more inclusive Canada.
With your help, we can make more Para sport activities available in more communities across Canada.
You can help make Para sport available and accessible for people with a disability in your community – and beyond.
Your donation will go towards ensuring that the programs, equipment and people are in place to allow more Canadians with a disability to access sport. Without donors like you, many sports will still be out of reach for the one in seven Canadians who has a disability.