Seeing the World Through Electronic Eyes: My 2 Weeks to See it All By Leona Emberson

I recently had 2 weeks with electronic  glasses. Glasses that had the potential to change my view on the world, and myself. As is typical for me, I thought the process through, deliberated on the pros and cons, hesitated, and then jumped in with both feet, despite not being able to see where I might land. I may not have known where I would end up, but I knew what I wanted to see along the way. I had a list written out on bold lined paper with my black marker. This list included fun things such as seeing the city of Toronto from the top of the CN Tower, playing video and board games and  going to a museum. It included practical things like grocery shopping, reading menus, and using a computer. It also included sentimental things like watching my guide dog play in the park, seeing friend’s faces, and looking at photographs. The list I could not write up was what I would learn along the way.

A  picture of me silhouetted  in front of a circular window with my large electronic glasses on

These glasses were a bit cumbersome, and may have provided a form of visual distraction for those around me.

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Equality; It’s Empowering by Leona Emberson

This summer I competed in my first season of triathlon. I was registered for my races. I picked up my race kit including my bibs, bike stickers and the appropriate swim cap for my category. Before the race I racked my bike and set up my transition area. After last minute pep talks, I headed to the start line. I swam, I biked, I ran, I finished the race. I received my finisher’s medal. I will even be receiving recognition for the top finisher for the season in my category.

Does this sound “normal” to you? If it does, then you are most likely not a Para Athlete. Continue reading

Supporting my Paralympian Friends; It shouldn’t be this hard by Leona Emberson

I am blessed to have a number of inspiring and motivating Paralympians in my life who I call my friends. Some of them I have known since I was in high school, and some I have gotten to know in recent years. I have had the honour of playing goalball with and against the members of the Canadian Women’s Goalball team. I have run on the same path, although a few paces behind, members of the Canadian ParaAthletics track team. These experiences have helped me gain respect for them, and their counterparts as athletes.

What has had a more significant impact on my life has been the time I have spent with these friends out of the sports venue. The time in the coffee shop chatting, or in a theater watching a movie. The time we sit in each others living rooms playing cards or relaxing in front of the television. We have been with each other for graduations, weddings, and first jobs. We have been with each other as we have developed as athletes, and into adults. Continue reading

Swim, bike, run, Paratriathlete by John Young

LP Paratriathlete John Young exiting the Hudson River at the NYC Triathlon

LP Paratriathlete John Young exiting the Hudson River at the NYC Triathlon in 2012

As far as I know, I am the only dwarf who has completed a triathlon. Maybe I’m not, but at least I have never been able to find another like-minded little person (LP). In the recent months I have had two members of the LP community contact me stating that they are training to complete their first triathlons later this summer. This past July I returned to NYC to race in the NYC Triathlon. As a new member of Achilles International, I race with other physically challenged athletes on the same course with able-bodied age group athletes and pros as well. The race itself was a challenge as most triathlons are. It includes a 0.9-mile swim in the Hudson River, a 26-mile cycle up and down the West Side Highway and then a 6-mile run up 72nd Street into and around Central Park. I had a terrific day on the course as the fan support in NYC is amazing.

On occasion, I search the Internet in order to try and find other short-statured people interested in multi-sports. I do so by entering phrases like “dwarf triathlete,” “dwarf cyclist” into search engines. The results I usually find are related to my own blog or online stories about me. Continue reading