Ice sledge hockey captain to give talk in Ottawa on International Day for Persons with a Disability



    OTTAWA-GATINEAU, Dec. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Paralympic gold medalist Jean
Labonté will be talking about his life as an elite athlete with a physical
disability today - International Day for Persons with a Disability - at
La Cité collégiale in Ottawa beginning at 11:30 a.m.
    "I never though that my disability would bring me to where I am today -
I've had tremendous Paralympic experiences," said Labonte, who was on Canada's
national sledge hockey team that won gold at the Turin 2006 Paralympic Winter
Games. He was also part of Canada's team that won silver at the Nagano 1998
Paralympic Games.
    Labonté will describe to executives, professors, support staff and other
employees of La Cité collégiale his experience of being born again after his
leg was amputated following a diagnosis of bone cancer.
    "The goal of the Paralympic Movement is to make the perception of
disability disappear, replacing it with accessibility, integration and
equality," said CPC President Carla Qualtrough. "On International Day for
Persons with a Disability, Jean will demonstrate through his thrilling
personal story just how this can be done."
    When the cancerous part of Labonté's leg was initially removed, it was
replaced with a steel rod that went all the way down to his ankle. The rod
broke in 1990, and subsequently his leg was amputated above the knee.
    "I was born again after the amputation. The change allowed me to get into
sports again," says Labonté. "When I got cancer, it put a stop to most of my
physical activities, mainly because of chemotherapy and my cumbersome straight
leg."
    Recently named captain of the 2007-08 national sledge hockey team,
Labonté is the only player to be named to every edition of Team Canada since
1996.
    A native of the Gatineau area, Jean studied at the University of Quebec
in Hull, where he obtained his degree in computer science. He's currently
employed as a software designer. He lives in Gatineau with his wife Isabelle
and their son Louis-Xavier.
    Ice sledge hockey is a fast-paced, highly physical Paralympic version of
ice hockey.
    La Cité collégiale is located at 801 Aviation Parkway in Ottawa. Please
note that Jean Labonté will be speaking in French..

    About Canadian Paralympic Committee

    The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is a non-profit, charitable,
private organization that is recognized by the International Paralympic
Committee (IPC). The CPC delivers programs that strengthen the Paralympic
Movement in Canada, including sending Canadian teams to the Paralympic Games.
The CPC empowers persons with physical disabilities, through sport, at all
levels. For more information, visit www.paralympic.ca.




For further information:

For further information: Gabrielle Payette, Canadian Paralympic
Committee, (613) 569-4333, ext. 225, gabrielle@paralympic.ca.


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