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Making a Difference One Stride at a Time

Making a Difference One Stride at a Time

By Sean Mitton, Canadian Expat Network

Seven years ago, Mark DeMontis never envisioned that he would be preparing to inline skate from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Toronto, Ontario. From August 13 to October 15, 2011, Courage Canada will be holding a campaign to raise money and awareness for Blind Hockey programs.
A lot has happened over the last 7 years for DeMontis, including losing his sight when he was diagnosed with Leber's Optic Neuropathy -- a rare condition that took away the central sight in both of his eyes, leaving him legally blind -- at the age of 17. This condition put an end to his dream of playing College hockey in the US and perhaps playing on the big stage of the NHL.

During a low point in his life in 2008, DeMontis founded Courage Canada, a national  registered charity with the goal to implement learn-to-skate programs and hockey schools for Canadians who are blind and visually-impaired.

Since then Courage Canada has continued to flourish. DeMontis has met Wayne Gretzky, presented flowers to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and been a torchbearer for the 2010 Paralympics Games. Outside of Canada, he partnered with North Carolina State University's College of Textiles to create Blind Hockey puck prototypes for the visually impaired. He's also become a professional youth and corporate speaker.

A lot has transpired in those seven years, and with DeMontis's drive and determination, there's surely a lot more to follow.  For now, he is focused on the 2,000 km journey from Halifax to Toronto.  I personally plan to follow him during this skate through his Facebook page and Twitter feed. For more information about Courage Canada and Mark Demontis, visit his website at ww.couragecanada.com.

Financial support from this campaign will directly help youth and adults across the country learn and play our nation's game. An opportunity they otherwise may never have had.

Learn more at www.couragecanada.com .