BraunAbility Honors Spirit of Ability Award Winner in Toronto

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Kristen Cameron perseveres as an accomplished wheelchair athlete and volunteer following a life-changing accident.

BraunAbility awarded its Ralph W. Braun Spirit of Ability Award to Kristen Cameron, a Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, native. On Friday, July 18, Cameron received her award in Toronto at the BraunAbility Day at the Races event. Sam Schmidt, a former IndyCar driver turned team owner who was paralyzed in a crash in 2000, presented Cameron with the award.

In addition to the award, a $1,000 donation was made to the disability-related cause of her choice. Cameron has chosen Level Playing, an initiative aimed at removing financial barriers to facilitate equitable access for children with special needs attending summer camps with the city of Brampton, Ont.

Cameron was a victim of a hit-and-run by a drunk driver that threw her over 45 feet off her bike and broke her neck and back. The hockey coach-in-training was paralyzed from the chest down, but has not stopped pursuing her passion of sports.

“It’s a really big honor to get this award, and I don’t use that word lightly,” said Cameron. “It’s still just surreal to me.”

Following her injury, Cameron has gone back to her graduate school studies to finish her master’s degree. She is also an active participant in wheelchair rugby teams and wheelchair racing. A driver’s license is in the works, and she is beginning to speak at local schools and events about the dangers of drunk driving.

The Spirit of Ability award was created to honor individuals like Kristen Cameron who make a notable difference in the lives of people with physical disabilities, often despite overwhelming odds. The award is named in honor of the late Ralph Braun, who had muscular dystrophy but did not let that prevent him from inventing the first motorized scooter, wheelchair lift, and founding BraunAbility, today a worldwide leader of mobility equipment.

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Megan Wegner
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