Amazing athletes across Georgia recognized for facing adversity with physical challenges and leading a positive impact in their communities.
The Triumph of the Human Spirit Awards are designed and developed to recognize Georgia residents who are leaders in the adaptive sports community that impact and inspire with compelling life stories about overcoming adversity, perseverance and a will to live life to the fullest.
This year’s event was quite spectacular in itself. With 21 fascinating people being awarded ranging from athletes, coaches, teachers, government, community leaders, community organization and of course the amazing volunteers who give countless hours to support adaptive sports programs all across the state of Georgia.
Twenty people were recognized starting with the talented Collin Lancaster, who at the age of 12 has taken on multiple sports like wheelchair basketball, track & field, swimming and archery. Collin has set many National records in both Archery and Track & Field. Collin recently competed in the NJDC this past summer in New Jersey with a few of his Blazesports teammates and his father Marc Lancaster who also received an award for coaching and volunteering. Marc is a phenomenal coach who dedicates his time and talents to help both wheelchair basketball and track & field.
It’s hard to believe that Collin has only been with BlazeSports since the age of 6. Collin got a second chance at sports after a serious accident that caused him to suffer a spinal cord injury causing him to be wheelchair bound.
Collin has faced adversity head on and doesn’t let being in a wheelchair stop him or hold him back. This is what the Triumph of the Human Spirit is all about.
We will surely see this duo team as they continue to make great strides.
During the night there were many award presentations and heartfelt testimonials from keynote speakers including Michael Kutcher, Motivational Speaker, Disability Advocate and one who was diagnosed by his mother initially with having cerebral palsy.
Michael discussed how having cerebral palsy didn’t stop him but gave him some challenges like recounting a childhood memory with his brother, actor Ashton Kutcher playing on the basketball court.
Ashton challenged Michael to a friendly game of horse but during the game Michael was challenged by Ashton to make a basket with his right-hand. Of course, at the time Michael didn’t understand and told him he couldn’t do that with his right hand because cerebral palsy affected his right extremities including all function in his hand. It was after that game that Michael’s life was forever changed.
Michael recalls the conversation …Ashton said “I can’t make that shot for you. Mom can’t come out here and shoot the ball for you. You have to stop relying on them. You’re the only one that can make that shot”
Throughout the event twenty people were recognized for overcoming life’s physical challenges in sports like Collin Lancaster and Marc Lancaster, the other amazing winners were McClain Hermes, David Prince, Cassie Mitchell, The Shepherd Center, Phil Martin, Lamback and Hopkins, Harlon Matthews, Jeremy Maddox, BlazeSports Atlanta Wheelchair Hawks, the American Association of Adaptive Sports Programs, John Pullium, Todd Love, Al Mead, Amy Aechenbacher, Errol “Big D’ McKnight, Bill Furbish, Amanda Dennis and Curtis Lovejoy.
We also want to give many thanks to Emmy Award-winning journalist and meteroroligist Paul Milliken, Fox 5 Atlanta for providing the gala event with lots of laughs and a fine job at hosting such an wonderful event.
About BlazeSports America
Based in Atlanta and celebrating over twenty years in 2016. BlazeSports America’s mission is to change the lives of children and adults with disabilities through sport. Our approach includes sport and community programs, leadership programs, competitions, camps and clinics, professional continuing education and certification and sports diplomacy for social impact.
For more information on BlazeSports visit http://www.blazesports.org