Sunday, April 19, 2009

Have you heard about Caitie?

Gravity is love and every turn is a leap of faith. ~Author Unknown

Have you heard about Caitie? Her real name is Caitlin Sarubbi and she's a fellow skier from the Adaptive Sports Foundation where I've volunteered for the last 10 years!

Caitie needs some help in her quest to get to the
2010 Paralympics in Vancouver and since I can't attend her Party For a Dream event in Brooklyn this Friday to support her, I vowed to blog about it. My goal is to get the word out and to encourage monetary or silent auction donations from you, your school or your business in order to help Caitie get to the Olympics.

Caitie was born with Ablepharon Macrostomia that left her without eyelids as well as other facial deformities. She had her first surgery when she was only three days old to salvage her eyesight. Since childhood, Caitie has had 57 reconstructive surgeries on her face and hands. Caitie believes that she was blessed to have had the top surgeons in the world as her doctors. It was the doctors that saved her life that have inspired her to follow in their footsteps and to pursue a career in the medical field.

Despite her challenges, Caitie became interested in skiing after the members of her family were invited as special guests to the Hartford Ski Spectacular by Disabled Sports USA after 9/11.
Caitie’s father, a NYC firefighter, brought the whole family to the event so they could enjoy snow sports together.

For Caitie, skiing unleashed a freedom in her that she had never felt before. “For the first time,” she states, “I felt that there were no boundaries, no limits, no disability. I was free to do whatever I wanted.”

Back home, Caitie did some research and found the Adaptive Sports Foundation in Windham, New York. Since elementary school, Caitie has spent her weekends taking lessons to improve her skiing at the ASF. Ultimately, she began training and competing at the National level to qualify for the US Adaptive Ski Team (USAST). Since Caitie graduated high school she has maintained excellent grades at Harvard University where she is currently attending as a pre-med undergraduate, while still pursuing her skiing career.

In case you haven't heard, nineteen year old Caitlin Sarubbi is now a rising star in the adaptive ski-racing world and has earned a space on the US Adaptive Ski Team. Her new focus, is the reward of earning a medal in the 2010 Paralympics in Vancouver!

Caitie is a skier classified with a visual impairment, but she is still a racer. In order for Caitie to ski and compete she requires the assistance of a guide that skis in front of her and acts as her eyes through the race course. The guide calls out commands to Caitie through the wireless headsets they wear as they race through the gates together toward the finish line.

In order to maintain her participation on the US Adaptive Ski Team, Caitie requires a budget of ~ $100,000. This amount includes the cost of her guide, PSIA Certified Instructor, Gwynn Watkins, a former head coach of the Waterville NH, Winter Park CO, and Challenge Aspen Adaptive Ski Teams. The money also includes travel expenses, fees and equipment for the two of them.

In response to this blog, there are a variety of ways you could help support Caitie in her quest to attend the 2010 Paralympics.

  1. You could attend her party on Friday, April 24th, 2009 in Brooklyn, NY.
  2. Donate an item or service to the Silent Raffle/Auction
  3. Make a secure credit card donation through the Adaptive Sports Foundation Website.
  4. Mail a donation to Caitlin Sarubbi at 21 Knight Court, Brooklyn, NY 11229
  5. Repost this blog within your educator networks and encourage others to help Caitie.
Anything you can do to support Caitlin would be greatly appreciated.

Turn right, turn left, repeat as necessary. ~Author Unknown

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Blogging Against Disablism Day

From the Diary of a Goldfish blog:
Blogging Against Disablism day will be Friday, May 1st. This is the day where all around the world, disabled and non-disabled people will blog about their experiences, observations and thoughts about disability discrimination. In this way, we hope to raise awareness of inequality, promote equality and celebrate the progress we've made.

How to take part.

1. Comment to the Diary of a Goldfish post if you'd like to participate. You will then be added to the list of participants. Everyone is welcome.

2. Spread the word by linking to the Diary of a Goldfish site, displaying the provided banner and/ or telling everyone about it via twitter/plurk. The entire success of Blogging Against Disablism Day depends entirely on bloggers telling other bloggers and readers in advance.

3. Write a post on the subject of disability discrimination, disablism or ableism and publish it on May 1st - or as close as you are able. Podcasts, videocasts and on-line art are also welcome. You can cover any subject, specific or general, personal, social or political. In the previous three BADDs, folks wrote about all manner of subjects, from discrimination in education and employment, through health care, parenting, family life and relationships, as well as the interaction of disablism with racism and sexism. Every year the Goldfish has been asked, so it's worth stating; the discrimination experienced by people with mental ill health is disablism, so naturally such posts are welcome too.

You can see the archives for previous years here: 2006, 2007, 2008.

Blogging Against Disablism Day is not a carnival of previously published material. The point about doing this around one day is that it is a communal effort and all the posts connect to one another. You can of course use your own post to promote other things you've written as you wish.

4. Return to Diary of a Goldfish on May 1st to let everyone know that you've posted and to check out what other people have written. The Goldfish shall post links to everyone's posts throughout the day, creating an archive. However, the Goldfish needs you to comment and leave the URL of your post or else she shan't find your post and won't be able to link to it.

From the Diary of a Goldfish blog:


Naturally, Blogging Against Disablism Day invites contributions from people with all variety of impairments and none at all. You are welcome to contribute with podcasts, video-blogging or anything else that allows you to take part. And whilst May 1st is when this all takes place, nobody who happens to have a bad day that Friday is going to be left out of the archive.

Please e-mail the Goldfish at diaryofagoldfish at if you have an questions or concerns.

From the Diary of a Goldfish blog:

The Linguistic Amnesty

Whilst discussions about language and the way it can be used to oppress or empower us are more than welcome, please respect the language that people, particularly to describe themselves in their own contributions. We all have personal preferences, there are cultural variations and different political positions which affect the language we use. Meanwhile, non-disabled contributors can become nervous about using the most appropriate language to use, so please cut everyone as much slack as possible on the day.

At the same time, do not feel you have to use the same language that I do, even to talk about "disablism". If you prefer to blog against disability discrimination, ableism or blog for disability equality, then feel free to do so.

New Website for the Tourette Syndrome Association

The Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc. has just redesigned their website.

Just in case you've never visited the site, be sure to check it out and bookmark it. It happens to be a great resource to teachers and offers many affordable professional development opportunities for parents, teachers and service providers from New York and surrounding areas.

On the website, you'll find THAT DARN TIC , a newsletter written by and for children with Tourette Syndrome as well as other resources for adults that live with Tourette Syndrome.

In addition to the resources above there is an education section with strategies and advocacy supports. You can also sign up for e-mail updates.

The following video is a PSA regarding the
Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc.