Since the 1980s, Candace Cable has been a name in the disability sports world, winning nine Paralympic medals in wheelchair racing and snagging six Boston Marathon wins. She helped put wheelchair racing on the map, making it one of the first adapted sports the masses care about.
Since her wheelchair racing days and her subsequent alpine skiing days in the 1990s (a sport she discovered after retiring from wheelchair racing), Candace went on to make made advocacy her “bliss” as she likes to say, and boy is she good at that. And right now she’s bringing her advocacy abilities overseas.
Her first advocacy gig was as the director of the nonprofit Tahoe Turning Point, which helps bring outdoor recreation to people with disabilities. And then she directed Advancing Our Abilities, a nonprofit that creates programs for public school students with disabilities. No matter where she works, helping people with disabilities have full lives and be completely integrated is her ultimate goal.
Considering her athletic and advocacy background with people with disabilities, it comes as no surprise the U.S. Embassy in the Republic of Georgia chose Candace as an ambassador for the goodwill mission, “Lives Without Limits,” sending her to Armenia and the Republic of Georgia. And after she is done with her goodwill mission here, she will head on to Sochi to report on the 2014 Paralympic games.
Candace has been overseas for little over a week and has already made an impact. She’s met with people disabilities, including people injured in the earthquake that hit the region in the 1980s that killed 25,000 people and disabled thousands more, as well as Paralympians from this region.
She also has met with government officials in Armenia, helping to spread her mission. And in the Republic of Georgia, she met with a group of cadets to teach them about disability awareness by putting them through a wheelchair obstacle course. She also has spoken at the Ministry of Youth and Sport on the importance of adaptive recreation. Talk about an opportunity of a lifetime.
As an American, I must say I’m incredibly proud of Candace and the work she’s doing in Eastern Europe. These countries are about 40 years behind where we’re at when it comes to accessibility and disability awareness, but at least, thanks to Candace’s help, they’re slowly starting to change.
Sometimes it takes just one person to light the flame of change, or at the very least, inspire people to start thinking differently about disability inclusion, and I think the world can agree that Candace is the perfect person for the job.
Have you traveled to nations that were formerly part of the USSR? What was the accessibility like?
– Watch an interview with Candace by an Armenian news outlet about her mission: A Life Without Limits