Wheelchair hill race to raise funds for Brock University Power Cord program

A unique fundraiser taking place this weekend that will have people racing uphill in wheelchairs all started with a simple question about community involvement.

Brock University alumnus Eric Mukendi (BBA ’07) is a member of the University’s Power Cord exercise program for individuals with spinal cord injuries. He recently completed a study with Applied Health Sciences graduate student Scott Donia that compared two different strength training protocols. The study looked at the changes of individual muscular strength, functional capability and psychological well-being.

“One of the questions I was asked got me thinking about what I could do to become more involved,” says Mukendi.

The question was “how satisfied are you with your contributions to your community, neighbourhood, religious, or other group?” says Donia.

It was a turning point for Mukendi.

“The Power Cord program has helped me to become stronger and I wanted to find a way to contribute and get involved,” he says.

The result was the C6 Wheelchair Challenge, a two kilometre, uphill wheelchair race that Mukendi has been planning for the past four months. It will take place on Concession 6 Road in Niagara-on-the-Lake starting at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Mukendi says it was through the support of friends and the skills he learned while at Brock University that he was able to secure sponsors, get the necessary permissions and start finding participants.

“Power Cord and the Brock-Niagara Centre for Health and Well-Being are extremely grateful for the efforts of Eric in initiating this fundraising event. The proceeds will go towards Power Cord and spinal cord injury research,” says Brock kinesiology professor David Ditor.

Brock RECL student and wheelchair track racing Paralympian Jessica Lewis, who is currently in Rio for the 2016 Paralympic Games, said she thought the C6 Wheelchair Hill Challenge was a great idea.

“Exercising and being active can provide you with many benefits personally and socially and can help you be the best you can be. It also shows that just because you are differently abled doesn’t mean you can’t achieve anything you set your mind to,” she says.

The C6 Wheelchair Hill Challenge will take place on Saturday, Sept. 10 from 9 a.m. to noon on Concession 6 Road south of York Road in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

The event is open to everyone – regardless of physical abilities. Wheelchairs will be provided by For the Needy Not the Greedy, Motion Specialties and Niagara Wheelchairs and Seating. Walking or biking the route is also an option.

The event is sponsored by The Mansion House and Kully’s Original Sports Bar.

For more information visit: facebook.com/C6wheelchairhillchallenge/

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