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We recently celebrated Thanksgiving, which is a huge family celebration, in the US.  This year was extra special as I spent time at my parent’s home (I can’t remember the last time that I was at their home for Thanksgiving) where my sister, brother-in-law and I also celebrated our parent’s 64th wedding anniversary.  Unlike Nepal, in the US we don’t spend as much time with our parents once we leave home. However, I’m very thankful that at 84 and 88 my parents are alive and that I am able to speak with them daily. 

I’m very thankful that I live in the US where I’ve been able to pursue my passion of being involved with and learning more about adaptive sports as a volunteer coach and board member of Southern Arizona Adaptive Sports (SAAS).

During the past month I attended a conference put on by Adaptive Sports USA at Ability 360 in Phoenix, coached the Tucson Lobos in the Duel in the Desert Tournament at Ability 360 and also at our home Veteran’s Weekend Wheelchair Basketball Tournament at the Pascua Yaqui Wellness Center.   I’m thankful that I was able to be part of all of these events which involved numerous partnerships.

At the Adaptive Sports USA conference, I was able to connect with people working in the field from all over the US.  Partners/sponsors included Ability 360, ABC Medical, Craig H. Neilson Foundation, Mesa Parks and Recreation, Arizona Spinal Cord Injury Association (ASCIA), and Arizona Disabled Sports.  Duel in the Desert had three levels of partner/sponsorship-Most Valuable Player was Bank of America, Hall of Fame included Ability Center, Barrow Neurological Institute, Dignity Health, ASCIA and there were eight All Star Sponsors.  Our home Veteran’s Weekend Tournament included MPG Automotive, Arizona Chapter Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Health South and ABC Medical.  Numerous grocery stores, a local restaurant and a granola bar company donated a variety of food and water.

Why would a business partner in adaptive sports and implement Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?  In the case of ABC Medical, a national provider of medical supplies, they redefined their mission and purpose since CEO Keith Jones and a group of healthcare professionals acquired the company in 2012. “Companies like us typically focus on volume and margins as well as manage through the difficult world of reimbursement. While all of those things are critical for a successful business, to us, it is quite frankly boring, uninspiring, and certainly not a mission to be proud of. After attending a few adaptive sports events with my son, and meeting some of our customers fiercely competing on the basketball court, our mission became obvious – To Do Well by Doing Good“ says Jones.

Since then the company has heavily invested in all kinds of adaptive sports; they became the largest supporter of wheelchair basketball in the history of NWBA; and they expanded their support to other sports, including wheelchair bowling, wheelchair tennis, track & field, wheelchair rugby and adaptive rowing. Last but not least, they’re the creators of the National Adaptive Sports Month and Seeds of Hope Initiative, the collegiate adaptive sports programs campaign, both of which reflect the company’s commitment to adaptive sports.

Since 2009 MPG Automotive Services has been going the extra mile for their customers and their automobiles in the Tucson area.  Why would they get involved?  Patrick Lopez, the owner of MPG wanted to show his love for and involvement in the Tucson community.  After becoming a sponsor of the Tucson Lobos last season, he decided that he wanted to do this in a much larger way by becoming a sponsor of SAAS and also providing a fleet discount for all of the Lobos and SAAS vehicles.

At its most basic level, partnerships come from building relationships.  This is what happened with SAAS in the case of both MPG Automotive and ABC Medical, i.e. board members developed and continue to cultivate deeper relationships which mutually benefit all. 

As I think and feel further about this Thanksgiving there is no doubt that I am  blessed.  I know that the relationships that I’ve built and continue to build, especially as I age, will carry me through whatever time I have left on earth.  Ultimately this has to do with how much love and hope we are able to spread in the lives of others. 






Position: Lover of Life-Change Agent

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