“It was a lot of fun. It was nice to meet so many new people. It was good to see so much support for such a great cause, and I was glad to be present!” says guest Carrie (right) with friend Andrea (left).
“Beyond Limits” was truly a theme for the 2016 CPABC Gala. Speakers, members and presenters all emphasized the power of each individual to reach their goals and stretch beyond their limits to achieve their dreams, at a glittery gala held March 3rd at the Best Western Plus Chateau Granville.
The CPABC extends grateful thanks to the 132 guests, the generous sponsors and silent auction donors, as well as staff and volunteers for making the second Life Without Limits Gala a tremendous success. The gala raised about $41,000, surpassing the 2014 gala by an increase of 35%. The proceeds from the gala will benefit the CPABC’s Youth Without Limits peer support group, Youth Navigator program,Tanabe Bursary, and Pre-Employment Program.
“A year ago, you couldn’t have PAID me to do this!” Sam Collett, Pre-Employment Program participant
Presenters at the gala provided living proof of the invaluable life skills they have gained from the CPABC’s programs. Youth Without Limits facilitators Lauren Stinson and Stacey Francis provided a heart-warming and inspiring description of their involvement in the program. Pre-Employment Program participant Sam Collette brought the house down with her presentation. “The Pre-Employment Program allowed me to come out of my shell. A year ago, you couldn’t have PAID me to do this,” she said to cheers and applause.
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, provided opening remarks for the event. A former Paralympian and human rights lawyer, she encouraged listeners to pursue their dreams. “Living with disability doesn’t have to mean living with limits,” she said.
The Hon Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, (left) and Andy Yu, CPABC President (right).
With the title “From the smallest of steps to the highest height,” keynote speaker Dr. Ryan D’Arcy linked his presentation to the theme of “Life Without Limits”. He highlighted the programs offered by the CPABC such as adapted yoga, dance, expressive arts, the youth group and the Pre-Employment Program, and said, “the programs that the CPABC is doing — this is not hope for change, this IS change.”
A Professor of Applied Sciences at Simon Fraser University, Dr. D’ Arcy talked about the brain and how it works. The neuroscientist delved into why he got into the field of brain research, which was to do work with practical applications that can help people, rather than investigative research that would just end up in a paper. “I felt like I won the lottery,” he said. “It’s important for me as a scientist that this doesn’t just end up in a paper for my peers.”
Dr Ryan D’Arcy, SFU Professor of Applied Science
The neuroscientist began his speech by introducing the science around the brain. D’Arcy explained that it seems like the concept of brain science has been around for a while, but in actual fact it hasn’t. “Vital signs” for the body are commonly accepted medical measurements of the body’s vital functions. “How can it happen that we don’t have “vital signs” for how our brain works?” D’Arcy asked.
D’Arcy really wanted to see the human impact of his work. He described a young woman living with quadriplegia in Halifax. He explained that through his research coupled with his colleagues’ help, he could record her brain waves and demonstrate that the young woman has above average intelligence and displays a vocabulary even greater than her peers.
He also described his ground-breaking work with Captain Trevor Greene, who sustained a devastating brain injury when he was hit by an axe in Afghanistan in 2006. The area affected was around the basal ganglia which control his gross motor function, rendering him unable to walk. With the help of Dr. D’Arcy’s cutting-edge work on a device which measures brain vital signs, as well as a robotic exo-skeleton, Captain Greene was able to walk again in September 2015. It was the first time in history that somebody with a brain injury was able to walk with an exo-skeleton. The first walk was a stroll around the SFU campus, but Captain Greene has a bigger goal: to climb to the basecamp of Mount Everest. Together with Dr. D’Arcy, he is now starting training to climb Mount Everest, and he’s been given the name “the Iron Solider.”
“The idea that we can help – that there AREN’T limits, like we think, is critical and core to what we are doing,” said D’Arcy about his research. “Go to the top of the world. I would encourage everyone else to do that, with all your heart.”
Auctioneer David Jones pumped up the crowd and awarded the big prizes of the night.
We also debuted a brand new video at the gala. It features volunteers, members, and staff of the Cerebral Palsy Association of BC; demonstrates the impact of our services over the years and what it means to live a Life Without Limits.