MONTREAL, Feb. 27, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The Air Canada Foundation and Canadian Paralympic Committee together with the Shriners Hospital for Children have teamed up to send 12 year-old Spencer Lambert from Winnipeg to Sochi as an ambassador for para-sports. Spencer and his father will cheer on the Canadian sledge hockey team's quest for gold at the Paralympic Games, being held from March 7 to 16.
Born with spina bifida, Spencer can only walk short distances with the aid of crutches, and often relies on a wheelchair to get around. Over the years the Shriners Hospitals for Children - Canada have helped treat some of his spina bifida-related symptoms. His courage and positive attitude during his stay at the hospital as well as his love of sports led to the staff submitting his name to the Air Canada Foundation, who selected him for a trip to the 2014 Paralympic Games.
"The team at the Air Canada Foundation was incredibly touched by Spencer's story of courage and determination," said Priscille LeBlanc, Air Canada's Vice President, Corporate Communications and Chair of the Air Canada Foundation. "It made Spencer a natural choice when Air Canada, a sponsor of the Canadian team at the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games, sought a young ambassador to attend the Games on behalf of the Air Canada Foundation."
Spencer discovered sledge hockey at the age of seven, enrolling in a program created by the Society for Manitobans with Disabilities. He plays at the Intermediate level and has begun playing with the adult senior team as well. An all-round athlete, he also plays wheelchair tennis, wheelchair basketball and even wheelchair rugby (also known as murder ball).
"It's getting close now, and he's getting pretty excited about it," said his father, Richard Lambert. "It's starting to sink in."
On March 2, Spencer and his father will leave Winnipeg, stopping over briefly in Montreal before continuing on their way to Russia. Father and son will spend a couple of days in Moscow, before heading to Sochi for a VIP tour that will include taking in a number of sledge hockey games. Canada is the top seeded team, after winning gold at the 2013 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships. Along the way lodgings are graciously offered by the Montreal Airport Marriott and Radisson Royal Moscow Hotels.
Follow Spencer's journey to Russia on Air Canada's Facebook page and twitter account @aircanada or #aircanadafoundation or Canada's Shriners Hospital twitter @ShrinersCanada or facebook #ShrinersHospitalsforChildrenCanada.
About the Air Canada Foundation
The mission of the Air Canada Foundation is to help connect sick children to the medical care they need, alleviate child poverty, and make the wishes of ill kids come true. It works toward this mission by supporting pediatric hospitals, providing assistance to charitable organizations, and raising funds.
About Shriners Hospitals for Children -Canada
Shriners Hospitals for Children is changing lives every day through innovative pediatric specialty care, world-class research and outstanding medical education. Located in Montreal, Shriners Hospitals for Children - Canada is a bilingual, short term, acute care centre providing elective pediatric orthopaedic health care. The role of the hospital is to promote health and to provide treatment and rehabilitation to children with orthopaedic and neuromuscular problems from across Canada and the North East US. The hospital is committed to excellence and innovation in clinical practice, research and education and to providing a caring environment to families. To learn more about Canada's Shriners Hospital, please visit http://www.exceptionalcare4kids.com.
Image with caption: "Spencer Lambert (CNW Group/Hôpital Shriners pour enfants (Canada))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140227_C7969_PHOTO_EN_37306.jpg
SOURCE: Hôpital Shriners pour enfants (Canada)
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