Changing the Way Canadians Think About Disability

Jeff Adams CN Tower Climb
   

The CN Tower is Canada's wonder of the world - a marvel of engineering and a symbol of Toronto recognized around the globe. In the past, people have climbed its exhausting 1,776 stairs and raised funds for many worthwhile causes. But no one had ever attempted to climb it in a wheelchair - until last fall.

On Sept. 26, 2002, two-time Olympian, four-time Paralympian and six-time World Champion Jeff Adams took up the challenge and climbed every single step of the CN Tower in his wheelchair. The purpose of his ambitious "Step Up To Change" CN Tower Stair Climb was to promote a barrier-free society.

His courageous effort earned over $170,000 to raise awareness and help create a School Outreach Program for grade school students across Canada. Its goals: To change the perceptions and stereotypes we have about people with disabilities; to educate young people and professionals about the need for a barrier-free society; and to raise awareness about the barriers faced every day by millions of Canadians with disabilities. This includes access to buildings, stores, restaurants, washrooms, transportation, jobs, places of learning and worship - daily access most of us take for granted.

The event was co-ordinated by the CFPDP. Jeff's arduous climb took more than seven hours to complete. But, like most of his challenges, he came out "on top" in more ways than one.