“The exhilaration I felt from my heart beating brought back that element of competition I hadn’t felt since high school,” Shaun Williams told an audience gathered at Portland’s Multnomah Athletic Club for the Northwest Association of Blind Athletes’ second annual Vision of Opportunities Breakfast.
Williams said that adrenaline rush and his return to sports occurred after he joined a NWABA Dragon Boat team. He was one of several blind athletes who helped at the fundraising breakfast, which was sponsored in part by the KMR Group Foundation.
Billy Henry founded the Northwest Association for Blind Athletes in 2007 when he was just 15. Six athletes met at his house a few days a week to lift weights. Now more than 1,000 athletes in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana participate in such sports as tandem bike rides, judo and goalball.
For many of the athletes, it’s the first time they’ve felt the wind in their face from a tandem bike ride or been told that they can do and accomplish anything they want.
Karen Holterhoff, a KMR Director, NWABA Board Member and volunteer, said after attending an earlier NWABA event she was convinced KMR needed to partner with the organization.
“There was just so much energy in the room,” Holterhoff said.