Dorothy Hamill and Kennedy Krieger Institute Announce New Adaptive Skating Program

February 1, 2010

Updates

Baltimore Magazine Feature: Dorothy Hamill Flying Free

Baltimore Magazine - Don't miss the March issue of Baltimore Magazine for a story on the I-Skate program. For an inside look at a skating session and an interview with Dorothy Hamill, watch their great video here.

NBC's TODAY Show

In January 2010, an NBC camera crew and guest correspondent Jenna Bush Hager visited Baltimore to film I-Skate in action. Dorothy Hamill was interviewed, along with Kennedy Krieger's Director of Physically Challenged Sports, Gerry Herman. Many of the children participating in the program were featured in the piece that aired on the TODAY Show on February 1st.
Watch the heartwarming video here.

(Baltimore, MD) - Kennedy Krieger Institute announced today that Olympic Gold Medalist and Hall of Fame figure skater, Dorothy Hamill, has partnered with the Institute to create an adaptive skating program called I-Skate. Part of the Physically Challenged Sports Program at Kennedy Krieger, I-Skate offers children with physical disabilities the unique opportunity to learn how to ice skate-not only improving their health and independence, but providing important social interaction with their peers.

"When I learned to skate, the motion of gliding on the ice and the fresh air on my face felt like heaven. And learning to handle yourself on the ice, mastering something difficult, gives you a sense of pride," said Ms. Hamill. "I want to give that experience to these children, so they will be able to say, 'I can skate.'"

Launched in November 2009, the I-Skate program is open to children ages 5 to 18 with a wide range of physical disabilities that can include cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, limb differences and paralysis. Specially designed adaptive ice skates, walkers, ice sleds and helmets make it possible for these children to participate in weekly skating sessions. The program participants range from children who may eventually become independent skaters to those who may always use a walker for support.

"We are very grateful to Dorothy for making it possible to add ice skating to the more than a dozen adaptive sports that we offer," said Gerry Herman, Director of the Physically Challenged Sports Program at Kennedy Krieger. "Her kindness and dedication to the children is evident each time she steps on the ice to teach them how to enjoy the sport that she loves."

For photos and more information on I-Skate: Dorothy Hamill's Adaptive Skating Program at Kennedy Krieger Institute, visit www.i-skate.org.

About Dorothy Hamill

Ms. Hamill is an accomplished athlete, humanitarian, media personality, and business executive. At just nineteen years of age, Ms. Hamill began a successful career by winning a Gold Medal for figure skating at the 1976 Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria and following that up with a World Championship title in Gothenburg, Sweden. As a professional, she has skated with many productions including eight years with the company she helped bring to preeminence among touring ice shows, the Ice Capades, had an unprecedented four ABC television prime time specials produced in her honor, won five consecutive World Professional titles, starred in her own touring productions, won an Emmy, and was inducted into the Olympic Hall of Fame and the Figure Skating Hall of Fame, amongst other achievements and accolades. In addition to her skating roles, Ms. Hamill was the first recipient of the Stars of Madison Avenue Award for her continued roles in successful advertising campaigns, released a best-selling memoir, and is consistently involved in charity work including the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, the International Special Olympics, Big Brothers & Sisters of America, Buoniconti Fund, Olympic Aid, Vaccine Fund, American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House, and teaching blind children to skate through the March of Dimes. While every four years, the Olympic Games produce a new group of champions, only rarely does one of these champions transcend their sport to completely capture the imaginations of the public as Ms. Hamill has done.

About Physically Challenged Sports at Kennedy Krieger Institute

Gerry and Gwena Herman started the physically challenged sports program at Kennedy Krieger in 1989. The Hermans started with a wheelchair basketball program, but expanded the program so that kids with a wider range of disabilities would be able to compete. Today, the scope of the program is impressive. Kids have the opportunity to take part in sports such a sled hockey, wheelchair basketball and football, swimming, track, field, archery, baseball, cycling, petracycling, sitting volleyball, and tennis. Thanks to this world-class sports program, many of the participants go on to become champions at the national and international level. Many also go on to the Paralympics or receive scholarships to continue their sport and further their education. To learn more, visit www.bennett.kennedykrieger.org.

About Kennedy Krieger Institute

Internationally recognized for improving the lives of children and adolescents with disorders and injuries of the brain, spinal cord and muscle, the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD serves more than 13,000 individuals each year through inpatient and outpatient clinics, home and community services and school-based programs. Kennedy Krieger provides a wide range of services for children with developmental concerns mild to severe, and is home to a team of investigators who are contributing to the understanding of how disorders develop while pioneering new interventions and earlier diagnosis. For more information on Kennedy Krieger Institute, visit www.kennedykrieger.org.