Hometown: Whitby, Ontario
Hisham Mohammad was born with spinal atrophy, a condition that
causes severe muscle weakness. Rehabilitation services were almost
non-existent in his native Saudi Arabia and finding even basic
equipment like a wheelchair was difficult.
Even more difficult was finding a school that would accept him.
His parents spent hours in discussions with school officials and
medical suppliers trying to get their son the education and
services he needed.
When his family immigrated to Canada in 2002 a whole new world
of opportunity opened up for seven-year-old Hisham. At the
Bloorview Centre in Toronto they saw videos of children racing,
playing hockey and basketball in wheelchairs.
His mother Fahmida recalls, "Hisham was so excited when he saw
what the children were able to do. Right away he said I want to do
that. I want to try all of those sports too!"
It was also at Bloorview that Hisham first learned about Rick
Hansen. He was inspired by Rick's many achievements and his
"nobility of purpose."
"Because Rick Hansen is also a paraplegic," says Hisham, "his
story proved to me that anything is possible for people like
Today at 14, Hisham is active in wheelchair sports. His teams
have won gold medals at the provincial Paralympic Games in both
relay racing and wheelchair basketball.
"I don't think about my disability; I am too busy trying new
things, getting involved and staying active. If you think about it,
everyone has a disability of some kind. My message to young people
and to other kids with a disability is: Have the courage to try new
things; there are lots of opportunities out there to get involved
and make new friends; try your best, don't be afraid and never give
Hisham carried the Rick Hansen Medal on day 75 of the Rick
Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay in Toronto, Ontario.
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