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2010 - 2013 years

Brother Brian Scuba diving God  at work



 

 The following article was in the Edmonton Journal, Article and picture by Nick Lee


EDMONTON - He uses his nose to write on his computer, and he has mastered downhill skiing.

"My new challenge is to finish the 21-kilometre Edmonton Half Marathon on Sunday," says Ken Thomas.

"I will hopefully complete it in about 2½ hours."

That's a pretty respectable time for many first-time half marathoners. But Thomas was deprived of oxygen at birth and has cerebral palsy.

"It affected my speech and I regularly communicate through my computer," he says.

"I use my nose to type because I can't use my hands for fine movements such as typing and eating. I might be the world's only nose pecker."

Thomas, 58, has a quip to deal with every turn in life and hasn't let his disability prevent him from taking the day by the scruff of the neck.

He gained a high school diploma, took computer courses, enjoys wheelchair square dancing and rides a tricycle. "I swim one kilometre nonstop once a week using a life-jacket," says Thomas."

He has won countless gold medals in national and international road and track races.

"The medal I'm most proud of is the bronze I won in the 800 metres during the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul, Korea," he says.

"I had to retire from international competition in 1992 because there weren't enough athletes in my class to compete in events at the Barcelona Paralympics."

Thomas pushes his super-light racing wheelchair backward with his feet. He trains a couple of times a week at the U of A Butterdome in the winter and on the quiet residential streets west of the university in the summer.

"I'm in the best shape I've ever been in," he says. "I am really looking forward to the half-marathon on Sunday.

"I'll have a runner-guide along to warn me of potholes, raised manholes and other bumps. My chair is light and tips easily.

The obvious question to ask such an intrepid athlete is whether or not he's encountered an insurmountable challenge.

"There is one," he says. " I haven't yet been able to train my dog to go to the fridge and get me a beer. We're working on it."

It was a great race 21K in exactly 2:30:06
Loved the straight few tinny hills course.  Only thing that I did not enjoy much was the steel grated bridge over groat road by the museum, it kind of shakes the bones up and slows you down a bit when your run/wheeling in a track wheel chair. Luckily my bladder was not full!
Would I do it again?  SURE
I want to thank my two guide runners John Devilin and Jeff Bellinger who navigated me around big bumps in the road, moved pylons out of the my way, asked human speed bumps to move aside etc. (I loved the cheers and encouragement I got from many of them)  I could not have done the 21K with out them!

2011

Half Marathon was great again.

2012

In March I ran/wheeled from 79 street all the way down Whyte Avenue to the U of A in the Rick Hansen 25 anniversary man in motion relay. It was fun!


Also in March I was the recipient of the Canadian Paraplegic Associations Lois Holes Community Development Award


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The Honourable Lois Hole Community Development Award

This is a provincial award given to an individual who has made a long term contribution to the

lives of people with disabilities.

Presented to Kenneth P. Thomas

 

I  Born in 1952, Ken Thomas started life with Cerebral Palsy

I  which left him with speech and physical coordination

I  challenges and a limited ability to walk.

 

 Against many odds. Ken eventually moved into the

newly constructed (first of its kind for Edmonton) Easter

Seals McQueen Group Home. For over 15 years, Ken

participated in the development of programs that provide

opportunities for residents to manage their care, for

services, recreational outings as well as staff hiring an

evaluations. From there. Ken moved to his own apartment

in Artspace Housing Co-op which includes a personal car

component

 

I In the 1980's and 90's. Ken competed in internationally in

track events winning countless medals. Winning bronze in

 

l

the 800m at the Paralympics in Seoul, Korea 1988 which was one of his proudest moments. Ken uses a specially-

designed, lightweight, three-wheeled racing wheelchair which he propels backwards using his

feet. Ken retired from international competition in 1992 because there weren't enough athletes

in his class to compete in events at the Barcelona Paralympics. In 2005, Ken was refused

participation in the World Masters Games, citing concerns he might run into and injure other

participants. Through persistence and personal advocacy efforts he was eventually allowed to

run in the race. Ken has ran/wheeled in many local 10 kilometer road races and 2 half marathons since then.

Ken is passionate about creating a more accessible city and is a regular at many events. He ~

a strong advocate for Edmonton's accessible transit system and makes use of DATS, ETS and

the LRT. Ken has been involved with many disability organizations and committees that lobby

for equal rights and inclusion opportunities for persons with disabilities, including the City

of Edmonton Advisory Committee, in which he was instrumental in producing radio ads for

Accessible Parking Awareness Week in 2007 and continues to promote parking awareness to

this day. Other organizations include: Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta; Alberta Committee

of Citizens with Disabilities; Alberta Cerebral Palsy Sports Association; Artspace Housing

Cooperative Ltd. Board of Directors; City of Edmonton Disabled Adult Transportation Advisory

Board; and City of Edmonton Advisory Board on Services for Persons with Disabilities.

"Catching My Breath" is a video produced by Ken's sister which documents Ken's life and his

many accomplishments. With limited verbal skills. Ken communicates mostly by e-mail, using

his nose to type. Ken has built his own website where he posts information and pictures about

his many activities. http://www.backwheeler.ca/

Ken participates in recreational activities such as swimming.  square dancing, theatre and sporting events

and encourages everyone to try to be as active in life as possible. Through Ken's optimistic

approach to life and his many recreational and sporting activities. Ken is a mentor and

inspiration to many other people with severe disabilities. Ken Thomas has made a difference!

To see the beautifully plaque Ken has received

in May I received the city of Edmonton Ewen Nelson Award for Self-Advocacy




In May My loving Nephew Alexander Thomas Haug died see link on menu

2013

My Nephew Scott Alan Thomas was married to Erin Tessier on February 9th here in Edmonton


 

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