Mia Fairley

Find Your Fun

My name is Mia Fairley. I am a substitute teacher in Lac Ste. Anne County in Alberta. I could never have anticipated the great passion I feel for promoting activity and sport for persons with disabilities. That is why I am thankful everyday for the birth of my three children. My son was born first and introduced me to the congenital birth defect called Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. Both of my daughters would be born later. My first daughter would also be born with Spina Bifida, but her condition was significantly milder than her brother's. My youngest tested negative for the condition.

My husband and I were always very sports oriented prior to having children. We played volleyball, fast ball, slow pitch and he was a ski racer, while I was on ski patrol. We anticipated passing on our love for sport to our children, so when the challenge came in finding modifications to sport, we felt the strong need to get involved.

My son is mobile, however has some lower leg paralysis. He wanted to play hockey and alpine ski, so we set out on a mission to make sure he could take part in his sport of choice.

We sought out organizations which offered the opportunity of sport for persons with disabilities. We found CADS (Canadian Asssociation of Disabled Skiing). My son was invited to try sledge hockey by one of his peers at a clinic.

Today, years later, my husband is currently the coach for CADS in Northern Alberta. I have recently completed a coaching course and my third year of coaching sledge hockey. I also volunteer as a CADS instructor. We have each had the pleasure of working with Paralympians in our respective sports.

Sport is critical for overall health, both physically and mentally. It offers the opportunity to build strength, coordination and social skills that are transferable throughout life. Regardless of the degree of ability being brought forward, there is always opportunity for each individual to improve at their ability level. Any level of accomplishment in sport is still success. Sport is organized play, so I would hope that all parents seek out sport for their children, so they will continue sport as adults . Having fun, staying healthy and being active is critical for everyone. I encourage all who experience an ability challenge to find your fun.