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Saturday, December 22, 2012

An amazing Portlander needs your vote

A neighbor of ours is in the running for the international title of Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year 2012. In these parts, she's known as a faithful volunteer at the aquatic therapy program of the Providence Hospital Center for Medically Fragile Children. But around the globe, she's known as a champion distance swimmer and a superb leader:

Karen Gaffney is a champion in every sense of the word: a humble heroine, a remarkable role model, a spectacular speaker. The English Channel relay swimmer has dedicated herself and the tools at her disposal to champion a journey to full inclusion in families, schools, communities and the workplace for people with Down syndrome or other developmental disabilities. With dramatic open water swims to emphasize one’s potential, as well as her speeches, video tapes and resource materials, she constantly installs hope for others with Down syndrome. Her lifestyle proves a full productive and inclusive life is in store for parents and families of a child born with Down syndrome or other learning disabilities. For her swims across Lake Champlain, Lake Tahoe, in Hawaii and in San Francisco Bay, for her ability to heighten awareness and raise expectations of students, counselors, educators and those in the medical profession of the capabilities of children with Down syndrome to learn, grow and contribute in an inclusive setting, Karen Gaffney is a worthy nominee for the 2012 WOWSA Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.

We all get to vote on this, even those of us who can hardly go about 50 yards without stopping. The balloting is taking place here, and there are just nine days left.

Comments (4)

Thanks Jack for helping this deserving woman get the recognition she so richly deserves.

Right now she is in second place.
VOTE ! people. Make her number one!

I started swimming again this winter and am impressed by the number of disabled people who show up day after day -- we're talking malformed arms, amputated legs, confined to wheelchair, recovering from stroke, etc. I'm so glad to hear of this lady helping these kids. Swimming is a fantastic healthy exercise outlet for folks who have precious few options. She is to be commended.

Good for her. Anyone who spends time with those children at Povidence deserves great credit for that alone and gets my vote. Our granddaughter did volunteer work there, and it is part of what makes her a great adult person.

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