There was plenty to celebrate at this year’s Concert for Inclusion which took place at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto on Thursday, October 8th. Many very talented performers came out to help raise funds for ParaSport Ontario including some of Toronto’s top jazz vocalists which included, among others, Heather Bambrick, Julie Michels and Jackie Richardson ; the incredible Justin Hines; and 19 year-old singing sensation Simone Soman. Toronto is certainly not short of talent when it comes to these incredible entertainers. Audience members could not get enough of each artist who took to the stage.
ParaSport Ontario decided that the Concert for Inclusion was a perfect venue to present its very first “Medal of Distinction” to a most deserving recipient. Dr. Robert W. Jackson was presented with this very prestigious Award which will henceforth be known as the “Dr. Robert W. Jackson Medal of Distinction”. This Award will now be presented annually to an individual who has shown extraordinary leadership, excellence and dedication to athletes with a physical disability. As a visionary and a leader in the field of medicine and sport for persons with a physical disability, Dr. Jackson was an obvious choice as the first recipient of this Award. Some (and there are many) of Dr. Jackson’s achievements include: being a pioneer in arthroscopic surgery; creating and being the Founding President of the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association; bringing the first Canadian wheelchair team to the International Paraplegic Games; organizing the 1976 Olympiad for the Physically Disabled in Toronto; assisting in creating the precursor for the Canadian Paralympic Committee, as well as being inducted into the Canadian Paralympic Committee Hall of Fame; winning numerous awards including: The City of Toronto Civic Award of Merit; the Air Canada Executive of the Year in Amateur Sports; the Donald King Memorial Trophy as Volunteer of the Year from the Sports Federation of Canada; being named as one of forty individuals who had the most impact on sports during the forty years Sports Illustrated Magazine had been published; receiving an Officer of the Order of Canada; receiving an Olympic Order (the highest order given by the International Olympic Committee) … and these are only a few of many! Paralympians Jeff Tiessen and Erika Schmutz along with ParaSport Ontario’s Vice President of Competitions, Faye Blackwood, were on hand to present the Award to Dr. Jackson. ParaSport Ontario congratulates Dr. Jackson on his accomplishments and sincerely thanks him for his contribution and dedication to sport for athletes with a physical disability. We look forward to his input on the Selection Committee when next year’s recipient of the “Dr. Robert W. Jackson Medal of Distinction” will be chosen.
Many thanks to the numerous volunteers and sponsors who added to the success of this year’s Concert for Inclusion, including Presenting Sponsors: Shoppers Home Health Care and Sprint-Insight as well as Associate Sponsors: elenchus Research Associates, Sunrise Medical and Jazz FM. Special thanks to the many other sponsors who provided both financial and in-kind donations which added immensely to the huge success of the event.
Be sure to join us next year for the 3rd Annual Concert for Inclusion. If you missed the Concert this year, you certainly won’t want to miss it next year.