Disabled Sailing Association – Letting the Spirits of the Disabled Take Sail!


In 1979, at just 19, politician and philanthropist Sam Sullivan had a tragic ski accident that left him a quadruplegic. After struggling emotionally with his disability for several years, Sam came to realize that he wanted to live the most complete, fulfilling life he could despite his disability. And better yet, he wanted to help others with disabilities do the same.

In the late 1980s, Sam got started on his mission, founding numerous organizations to help disabled people. In 1989, Sam received a very special gift of a sailboat, and this inspired the idea for yet another organization. With this sailboat, Sam founded the Disabled Sailing Association, a group that operates specially equipped sailboats that allow people with severe disablities to be able to go sailing! Today, the Disabled Sailing Association has branches all over Canada and the United States, and it has provided thousands of disabled people the chance to let their spirits sail!

This video tells about the Disabled Sailing Association and the wonderful impact it has.

Additional Resources:

  • Here is an IMK post about another person who wants to help disabled people live the most fulfilling lives they can!
  • Here is a website that tells about the Mobility Cup, an annual disabled sailing race started by Sam.

Topics for Discussion:

  • How would it feel to be confined to a wheelchair? How would your life be different than it is now?
  • Why is it important for disabled people to pursue activities they desire, such as sailing?

Take Action:

  • Visit the website for the Disabled Sailing Association to learn more about this great organization and how you can help support it!
  • Visit the Sam Sullivan Disabled Foundation website to learn about Sam’s other efforts to help disabled people like himself live complete, fulfilling lives!

Teacher Features:

  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.


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