AKA WSRA, a Non-Profit Organization Founded by Charles
and Danielle Ekizian.
In 1989 Charles
and Danielle Ekizian wanted to formalize their work in the use of recreational and sports activities among the newly disabled as catalysts for regaining active, invigorating lifestyles.
...Charlie Ekizian, a Boston native, has been a pioneer in motivating spinal-cord-injured toward community involvement since his own diving accident in 1968.
Already a legend in his
own community at age 21 because of his
indomitable spirit and feats of strength, his
C-5/C-6 level injury put him on a more spiritual path--one of unlimited challenge, mastery, and outreach. Charlie
was deeply impressed during his
rehabilitation process by the love and care that surrounded him--and by a visit from a spinal-cord-injured veteran.He
set high goals for himself, but his
primary goal became giving back to others all that had been given to him.
From 1970 to 1981 Charlie
worked full-time as a communications supervisor at Tufts New England Medical Center
, often doing double shifts as well as finding time to mentor and counsel newly-injured at that facility.His
outreach included many speaking engagements at Boston hospitals and universities.He was an early member of Mass Association of Paraplegics which later developed into GBC-NSCIA.
From 1971 through 1993 Charlie
competed nationally and medalled in pentathlon, javelin, shot put, discus, slalom, swimming, and track events, usually taking silvers and golds in up to eight events at each annual meet.He
also won national top medals in rowing every year he
competed, and coached others in all these skills, as well as weightlifting events.In 1988 he was a founder of the New England regional quad rugby team, and he is still a passionate rugby player and team member.
But winning medals is not what he's
greatest joy is to spark others to self-actualization, and he
uses these activities as tools to this end. Charlie worked for the New England Paralyzed Veterans of America as a legislative advocate and was instrumental in the successful inclusion of disabled as a protected class under Mass. Commission Against Discrimination. In 1989 Charlie and his wife Danielle, an attorney, founded Wheelchair Sports and Recreation Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation.
has made numerous appearances on local and national TV and radio to raise public consciousness about the extraordinary abilities of so-called "dis"abled and the importance of inclusion opportunities in every arena.He
has also won numerous personal awards, such as the Governor's
Neighborhood Superstar Award, and WBZ's "Hero."
Since 1995 Charlie
has also served as the Sports Director for the Greater Boston Chapter of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association
and as an enthusiastic peer counselor volunteer.
proudest achievement is watching the continuing success of the hundreds he
has worked with over the last thirty years, Charlie
is not an observer.His
life demonstrates maximum involvement--his motto: "Full Program: My name is down for all today's events!"
dc.jpg.jpg (24765 bytes)Danielle & Charlie Ekizian