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Pictou County woman lobbies on behalf of para and “special” athletes

CARIBOU RIVER, N.S.

Lana MacEachern has no horse in this race.

She simply wants to help right what she perceives is a wrong.

The Caribou River woman started an online petition this week, urging the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation (NSSAF) to change a policy that excludes para and “special” athletes from having their results added to their school’s point totals at NSSAF-sanctioned track and field events.

“It’s sending a message that their results don’t matter,” said MacEachern, whose son Jonah is an able-bodied athlete in Grade 12, and runs middle distance for the NRHS Nighthawks’ track and field team.

“They can’t really contribute to the school’s overall effort. They should be recognized in the same way as their teammates at regional and provincial meets and I just wanted to try to raise a little bit of awareness.”

After she saw a Facebook post about a Cumberland County woman taking on the NSSAF over the issue, MacEachern decided to lend her voice to the cause, and emailed the school sports governing body on May 27 to put forth her concerns.

Four days later, she had yet to receive a reply, but in the meantime, she also launched an on-line petition and as of the afternoon of May 31, more than 800 people had signed on.

“They train alongside their able-bodied teammates. I’m just asking (the NSSAF) to change this discrepancy. The solution is very simple – award them points for their performances just like the other athletes and let those points count for their schools. It shouldn’t have to be complicated.”

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