TORONTO, March 5 /CNW/ - Erica Scarff and Kaitlyn Lenchak, selected by RBC as 2010 Paralympic Torchbearers, will today carry the Paralympic Flame as Toronto hosts the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay. The duo were selected by RBC to recognize their efforts as outstanding young Canadians with disabilities to create a better Canada.
Thirteen-year-old Erica Scarff, from Mississauga, is a survivor of a rare bone cancer. An artistic gymnast since she was seven, Erica experienced no symptoms until she broke her leg at gym practice. After being diagnosed with osteosarcoma - the same disease as Terry Fox - she underwent 11 months of chemotherapy and a partial amputation of her right leg.
As a Hospital for Sick Children Ambassador, Erica will also be honoured this morning at a special healing ceremony led by Aboriginal elders, just hours prior to her 150-metre Paralympic torch run. Erica says she is thrilled to become part of Paralympic history as another step on her personal journey to inspire Canadians.
"I am excited and greatly honoured to be part of something so extraordinary as the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay and I want to thank RBC for this opportunity," Erica said. "I enjoy giving back to my community and am proud I can share in the Paralympic experience. I want to show amputees and others in the community that life can be hard, but look at what you can achieve when you work hard and believe in yourself."
Sixteen-year-old Kaitlyn Lenchak, from Aurora, was also selected by RBC as a 2010 Paralympic Torchbearer, in recognition of her efforts to inspire others, and will take part in today's relay at Toronto's Nathan Phillips Square.
Diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy at one, Kaitlyn is dedicated to helping other children with physical disabilities. She is an accomplished public speaker and a former ambassador for Easter Seals, an organization dedicated to helping people with physical disabilities achieve their full potential and independence.
"I have always worked hard to do the best I can, and I think it is amazing that RBC selected me to represent young Canadians with disabilities," Kaitlyn said. "My primary goal is to raise awareness on behalf of people with disabilities, and I hope being a Paralympic Torchbearer will help the world look beyond a person's disability. I also hope it will inspire people of all abilities to think 'If she could do that, maybe I could achieve my goals too'."
"We are pleased to announce Kaitlyn Lenchak and Erica Scarff as 2010 Paralympic Torchbearers and to recognize that their commitment will help build a lasting legacy for Toronto and for Canada," said Jennifer Tory, Regional President, Greater Toronto Region. "Kaitlyn and Erica are an inspiration to us all and demonstrate how each of us can make a difference. To be part of the Paralympic Torch Relay is a unique and exciting opportunity and RBC is proud to offer Canadians a chance to participate and experience the excitement around Canada's first Paralympic Winter Games."
Residents of Toronto are encouraged to come out and cheer on the torchbearers at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay community event at Nathan Phillips Square this Friday, March 5, starting at 12 p.m.
Approximately 600 Canadians will carry the Paralympic Flame as it visits community celebration sites in Ottawa, ON (March 3), Quebec City (March 4) and Toronto (March 5), as well as Victoria and Esquimalt (March 6), Squamish (March 7), Whistler (March 8), Lytton and Hope (March 9), Maple Ridge (March 10), and Vancouver (March 10, 11 and 12) in British Columbia. On March 11, 2010, the relay will turn into a 24-hour event through Vancouver's downtown core surrounding Robson Square as part of a day-long celebration of culture and sport counting down the final moments until the magical Opening Ceremony of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in front of tens of thousands at BC Place.
As a long-standing supporter of the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Teams, RBC continues its sponsorship through the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and is proud to help showcase Olympic and Paralympic sport as presenting partner of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays. Visit rbc.com/2010WinterGames to see exclusive photos and content from Canada's first Paralympic Torch Relay.
For further information: For further information: Judy Dobbs, Communications Director, RBC, (416) 974-3178, email@example.com