Members of Our Ability on Monday finished their 16-day trek along the Erie Canal from suburban Buffalo to Albany.
The group was led by Glenmont resident John Robinson, the founder of Our Ability, an advocacy organization for people with disabilities.
Robinson, a quadruple amputee, and other members made the 350-mile trip to support “the strides made by people with disabilities.”
The voyage, titled “Journey Along the Erie Canal,” began June 23 in Tonawanda.
“The Erie Canal is the symbol of inspiration and achievement,” Robinson in a news release. “A dream to cooperate for a purpose spurred on American development. Our Ability chose the Erie Canal to help inspire all people touched by disability towards a new wave of economic development. Inspiring all people with disabilities toward education and employment through achievement can help rebuild our economy.”
Like Robinson, the state Canal Corporation was excited to center the expedition around the Erie Canal.
“The Canal Corporation has been so very proud to sponsor this ambitious and exciting Journey Along the Erie Canal,” said Brian Stratton, director of the New York State Canal Corporation, in the news release. “The Erie Canal offers something for everyone, and John Robinson’s important work has demonstrated that people of all abilities can visit, use, and enjoy America’s most iconic waterway — the Erie Canal — and the Erie Canalway Trail.”
Tour members had the opportunity to bike, boat, run, and walk in their travels.
Along the way, advocacy groups and organizations for people with disabilities joined the group for sections of the journey.
“At New York State Industries for the Disabled, our mission is to provide opportunities for employment, an important focus for all New Yorkers — with or without disabilities,” NYSID President and CEO Ron Romano said in the news release.
“What John and his family are doing to raise awareness of accessible tourism in our state is yet another aspect of a fully inclusive life. As the Robinsons complete their journey along the Erie Canal, we commend their inspirational example of the human spirit.”
Robinson, who was born without full arms and legs, is a motivational speaker who has traveled around the nation to talk about overcoming obstacles in life.
In 2009, Robinson was the subject of a documentary, “Get Off Your Knees: The John Robinson Story.” He also has written an autobiography titled “Get Off Your Knees: A Story of Faith, Courage, and Determination,” published by the Syracuse University Press in 2009.
Our Ability is an organization that connects with and mentors people with disabilities through the use of “positive video stories.” The advocacy organization documented “Journey Along the Erie Canal” through a daily video, a blog, and social media. Our Ability plans to air a follow-up documentary on PBS with footage from “Journey Along the Erie Canal” in the future.
For more information on Our Ability visit the website www.ourability.com.
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