Organization to Host Outdoor Recreational Event for People with Disabilities in Dallas


Newswise — Think a physical disability such as a spinal cord injury can stop someone from water skiing, sailing or golfing? Just ask Lea Stewart, she does it every year at the annual End of Summer Bash, put on by RISE Adventures, a local non-profit organization dedicated to promote independence for the physically challenged population through sports, recreation and outdoor events. This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Originally created in 2005 by Stewart, a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist at Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation (Baylor Rehab), the event started out as a way for former spinal cord injury patients of Baylor Rehab to reunite and have fun. Having experienced a spinal cord injury herself 11 years ago, Stewart knows the challenges of this disability, but has never let it stop her from enjoying her favorite sports and activities.

“Life can bring challenges your way, but it is our decision to overcome them and arise. People should not assume that individuals with disabilities are limited,” says Stewart. “It took me two years after my injury before I began participating in recreational activities from the wheelchair, but since then I have been trying anything that comes my way, from downhill mountain biking, kayaking next to glaciers, hand cycling, and quad rugby. Every time I explore a leisure activity it gives me the sense of empowerment, accomplishment, strength, endurance, and social support from those with spinal cord injuries like myself.”

This year’s event will feature water skiing, scuba, jet skis, sailing, kayaking, swimming, fishing, disc golf, disability golf, camping, archery, horseback riding, hand cycling, quad rugby, sled hockey, basketball, climbing wall, face painting, remote control sailboats, children’s playground, petting zoo, wood carving, WWII amphibious boat rides, a silent auction and more.

Since its beginnings in 2005, the End of Summer Bash has helped more than 400 people with disabilities such as spinal cord injuries, spina-bifida, and amputees participate in outdoor sporting activities adapted to fit their needs. But this year’s event promises to be the biggest yet with more than 400 people anticipated to participate. Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation serves as the event’s lead sponsor.

“Each year, this event gets bigger and bigger. We are so thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity to the disabled community. We want them to take advantage of this program and challenge themselves,” says Paul Gray, CEO, RISE Adventures. “This event is designed for people of all ages with any disability. We want them to know that just because they have a physical limitation doesn’t mean they can’t participate in these kinds of activities. This is a great opportunity to take part in a wide selection of adapted sports all in one location for absolutely no cost.”

Free food and drinks will be available under the AMBUC’s food court tent. Special live performances by JB Clark and the Oak Lawn Symphonic & Marching Band will be featured and attendees will have the opportunity to participate in free drawings for merchandise and gift cards.

For more information, visit www.riseadventures.org. Attendees are encouraged to pre-register on the website or call 469-762-5075.

RISE, which stands for Recovery, Inspiration, Success and Empowerment; was formed in March of 2007 as a non-profit organization aimed at creating independence for the entire physically challenged population. RISE plans to accomplish this goal through sports, recreation and outdoor events and programs.

Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation is a not-for-profit, 92-bed hospital that offers intense, specialized rehabilitation services for traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, strokes, and other orthopaedic and neurological disorders. Physicians specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation, known as physiatrists, lead interdisciplinary clinical teams, which work with patients to design and implement a treatment program to achieve the patient’s goals. In 2009, Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation was named among the top rehabilitation hospitals in U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Hospitals” guide, an honor it has received for 13 years.

For more information about the Baylor Institute for Rehabilitation, visit www.BaylorHealth.com.

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