Wheel Rise Post-Event Recap

Wheel Rise is a new campus event that took place on Saturday, September 14th at Purdue University to raise awareness for Paralympic Sports and empower everyone to achieve their full potential. The following is a recap video and note from event coordinator and Purdue student athlete, Léony Boudreau.

"Thank you to everyone who participated in spreading the Paralympic movement and making the Inaugural Wheel Rise a magical moment! None of it could have been possible without the tremendous support of Purdue University, and especially the collaboration between the College of Engineering and the Athletic Department lead by Dean Chiang and Mike Bobinski.

This event was such a fulfilling experience and such an amazing learning lesson. I grew so much in the process and learned a lot about myself and my desire to provide Paralympic athletes with the resources they deserve to live and perform at their natural best every day. I am already looking forward to show the plan for the next Wheel Rise event!"

- Léony


How You Can Help

Show your support for Paralympic sports by sharing the movement, come at the Inaugural Wheel Rise Event and/or make a donation online to the CAF foundation at: http://bit.ly/DonateWheelRise

Inaugural Wheel Rise Event

The Inaugural Wheel Rise Event is a brand new event organized at Purdue University to raise awareness for Paralympic Sports and empower each other to achieve our full potential. Purdue University, sports fans & athletes, the community and those who are inspired to make this world a better place will join their forces to contribute in the movement and help parasport athletes perform and live to the heights of their full potential.

This FREE event will be held on Saturday, September 14th, from 2-5pm in Holloway Gymnasium next to Mackey Arena and is open to the public. Donations will be accepted for the “Challenged Athlete Foundation”, who focuses on “empowering lives through sports” by providing resources to athletes to help them perform and live at their natural best.

Attendants will have the opportunity to meet Paralympians, Purdue student-athletes and special guests, watch a physical and competitive wheelchair basketball game, listen to inspiring and knowledgeable speakers (Professor Eric Nauman & Professor Professor Jan-Anders Mansson) and much more! (Scroll down to the schedule for more details).

There will be food concessions available and many surprises for you! Come join us to learn, have fun and support the parasport community surrounded by GREATNESS just like YOU! Together, we will rise up to a higher level!

The Story Behind Wheel Rise

written by Léony Boudreau

It all started when I had the amazing opportunity to meet with Shelby Gruss, who was the captain of the USA wheelchair basketball team and who is now pursuing her PhD at Purdue in Agronomy. My career aspirations are to build a team of experts who will all be inspired in providing Paralympic athletes with the services they need to achieve their full potential. These services will include the design and innovation of the prosthetics and equipment they need for performance, as well as other necessary services like sport psychology and athletic training. This is why I'm studying in Biomedical Engineering along with four other minors (psychology, critical disabilities, Innovation and Transformational Change and pursuing the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation). I'm fortunate enough to be a student-athlete at Purdue University, where I am surrounded by amazing and supportive leaders. I am learning in an encouraging environment where I can seek all opportunities to gain the most knowledge and find ways to make the most impact in people's lives. These aspirations are also why, when I saw Shelby one day on campus, I had the feeling that I needed to ask Shelby her contact information and plan to have lunch with her.

I believe that Paralympic sports deserve more support and attention. Therefore, during our lunch we talked about her suggestions for my career goals, but we also discussed a way to raise awareness for Paralympic sports. We both felt that together we could help the community learn more about Paralympic Sports, inspire people to achieve their full potential and show the world how much Purdue University cares and understands the importance of diversity and inclusion. This is when the idea of creating this event was born.

Since then, we had tremendous support from Purdue University as a whole, especially from the great collaboration between the Engineering and the Athletic Departments. I also had the privilege to meet with President Daniels about the idea. I was truly pleased by his enthusiasm and support. With all this amazing support, the impact and the expectations for this event raised to a higher level. The potential inspirational movement that we are about to create has definitely become broader. It is impressive to see how well we can collaborate when we are all unified for a great cause.

Shelby Gruss got me in contact with her prior coach, Stephanie Wheeler, who, amongst other outstanding accomplishments, received a Gold medal at the Paralympic games in Beijing and who is now coaching wheelchair basketball at Illinois University. They will have about 20 people (staff and athletes) come to Purdue, some of them who participated in national teams. We will also involve the men's and women's basketball teams from Purdue and make it fun and interactive for the audience. The event will be free for attendants and food will be available. We are hoping to use the full capacity of Holloway gym, which is about 2500 people. The event will be from 2pm to 5pm on September 14th, before our home football game against TCU (at 7:30pm). We are organizing a wheelchair basketball game, along with talks from influential speakers and interactive activities between attendants and the athletes present. All my actions are devoted to one single purpose, and that is to inspire people to achieve their full potential. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to apply this principle on a broader scale with the tremendous support and encouragement available at Purdue University. I am beyond proud to represent Purdue University as a student-athlete and I feel fortunate to be able to learn, grow and impact the world surrounded by caring and supportive leaders.

Event Sponsors

Contact Us

Contact: Leony Boudreau lboudre@purdue.edu
Event Location: Holloway Gym, 1000 John R Wooden Dr, West Lafayette, IN