It is the people

Muhammad Ali had a party thrown for his 70th birthday in Las Vegas this weekend. Some big sport and entertainment celebrities showed up and contributed to the “Power of Love” Charity. Sure it was an all-star bash, and getting in was at a price: raising funds for a cause, with high profile people like Ali, just does good to people, even the ones who just enjoy hearing about it. Interviewed on the red carpet, Andre Agassi confirmed Ali is one athlete of a kind, as he “uses this platform to do things far greater than his notoriety can bring him and just for the love of others, he is an inspiration to all of us.” Both athletes have been involved in various charities, thanks to their name, which eventually became a brand: striving for raising everyone’s potential is rather noble. And it is all about the people.

I keep stumbling across people with big hearts filled with Love for others. And I love it, especially when the giving part uses sport to help people (re)believe in themselves, regardless of their fitness capabilities. Vancouver, BC’s Karim Ladki started 9Lives Adventures after a spinal injury he later recovered from and has been raising awareness around the challenges encountered by adventurers with physical disabilities since. He just wrapped up an adaptive snowboard camp and competition in Aspen, Colorado in partnership with Adaptive Action Sports. And it is only the beginning of spreading the Good, with the support of Rick Hansen’s and his foundation: keep your senses open, and look for Canada’s first adaptive skate competition this coming June.

Handicap? What handicap? Ismaël Guilliorit was amputated at 8-days old, and has transformed his battle against a fragile health into an inspiring association dedicated to all people called Vague d’Espoir. Since 2004, he has been giving, sharing, encouraging, helping and supporting people who had lost hope in Life, through water sports. Seeing the smiles and the spirit of disabled people who have overcome their physical fears when they manage to find their balance and surf is pretty uplifting, and puts paddle boating and everyday life into a different perspective. As a full-time volunteer, as his father explains, “He is doing Good to others”. So much so that Vague d’Espoir has grown and opened 8 branches on the French Coasts (including on the Reunion Island).

It is not about compassion towards disabled people, with, sometimes, that sticky feeling of inferiority, it is just about the people, it IS the people. I love to see someone’s eyes sparkle after achieving something that looked unrealistic at first. With emotions, heart, these two gentlemen are giving more possibilities, and reasons, to dream to everyone, no matter what the body looks like. There is no pity, only positive energy and Love. Nice drive to have, share and motivate others with. Karim and Ismaël must have some Mark Twain in them: “They did not know it was impossible, so they did it!” They are people, we are people: that is it.

Photo courtesy of © 9Lives Adventures