Update from UCC Invictus Games Organizing Committee Chair Renata Roman

The Invictus Games are 5 months away. The city of Toronto is getting ready to host the soldiers and veterans from around the world and celebrate along with them their invincible spirit. Venues have been set across Toronto, extra events for soldiers and their families and friends are being planned. The emphasis is to make everyone comfortable, relaxed and enjoy this special competition amongst fellow soldiers and friends. Why are these games so important you may ask? After all they will only last 5 days and bring together 600 athletes. What I find as a rehab specialist and physiotherapist is to look at the big picture. It is the journey of getting to the games not just being there. The response may surprise you-   A quote from the Canadian team members. “What we are truly delivering is rehabilitative therapy, a positive environment and support for those who — as a result of their service —  are struggling with mental and physical health challenges.” – Invictus email blog April 2017.

April 9, 2017, marked a special historic day in Canadian history. This date commemorated 100 years of the Battle of Vimy Ridge in northern France during WWI. Many historians consider the victory at Vimy Ridge to be the birth of our nation. Along with the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, it is exciting and poignant to mark these events with these special games. As Ukrainian Canadians we have a chance to celebrate the accomplishment and heroics of soldiers and veterans from both countries.

At UCC IG Organizing Committee,  we have been working hard to welcome  Team Ukraine and make them feel at home in our hromada. The UCC Org team is made up of 12 members along with the Chairman Renata Roman. D.Spolsky and A. Potichnij are the vice Chairs who are working on logistics. M. Stadnyk and her team from UCC Toronto are organizing the banquet on Sept 24th. I.Woloshakewych (USCAK) and I.Bokij ( 4th Wave Sports) are representing  the sporting communities and working on the welcoming committee. Members with various roles include A. Jacyniak (Buduchnist) , R. Mlynko (UkrainianCU), B. Cherniawsky (CUF) , L.Tarapacky (PLAST), K. Kardasz & S. Ostafichuk (LUC) , A. Kumka (CUIA)  Each member has a group of volunteers to help them in their work. We will be asking the Ukrainian Canadian diaspora to come and support the Ukrainian team by attending the events or attending the banquet.

On April,22 in Kyiv, the final competition took place to pick the Ukraine Invictus team. 30 competitors were identified , which will be reduced to the final 15 who will compete in Toronto.  President Petro Poroshenko announced the names and congratulated all who participated and took part in the event sporting events. He noted their strength and heroism not just in their lives but how their sacrifice made a difference in the lives of ALL Ukrainians. Here are photos from this event where one can see the true determination of the athletes. Good luck to all competitors!

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