Paul "Rosie" Rosen, a Canadian Paralympic Athlete recently visited Holy Name Catholic Elementary School as part of a cheque presentation assembly that also featured members of the Knights of Columbus.
The local Knights of Columbus and St. Bernard's Parish donated $1,000 to Special Olympics Ontario. In co-operation with the Special Olympics and the Knights of Columbus, Rosie, as he prefers to be referred, offered to speak at the school to help spread the importance of the Special Olympics. Rosie spoke to Grades 4-8 students and staff about his life, challenges, and resilience. His message to never give up on your dreams regardless of what life may throw at you, inspired students.
Rosie suffered a serious leg break while playing hockey at the age of 15. As a result of the injury, he suffered through many years of pain and numerous surgeries. At the age of 39, after a knee replacement, he contracted a serious infection and was told his leg would need to be amputated if he was to survive; he did not hesitate. After his amputation he immediately began to adjust to life without his leg; and not just adjust -- but thrive.
Rosen returned to sport and was discovered by members of the Paralympic team while playing sled hockey in a local league. His skill in goal was immediately recognized and he was invited to attend tryouts for the 2002 Winter Paralympic team that would represent Canada in Salt Lake City. He made the team and came in fourth that year. In 2006, the team won gold in Turin and he continued to play until he was 50 years old in the 2010 Games in Vancouver. If that was not enough of an achievement, Rosie decided to play sitting volleyball and then represented Canada at the 2007 Paralympic Summer Games where he won a bronze medal.
The Holy Name students watched and listened intently as Rosie told them of his ability to move forward after the loss of his leg. He did not see it as a deficit but the beginning of a new life. He encouraged students not to be discouraged by negativity of others, but to listen to their inner voice and heart. Following the hour-long talk, students continued to ask questions and even lined up to get his autograph.
The Holy Name school community thanks the Knights of Columbus, Special Olympics Ontario, and Paul Rosen for the inspirational assembly!