Special Olympics British Columbia British Columbia

Health Heroes

Health Hero Marinka VanHage of SOBC - Prince George sharing sun safety info and tools.

With the support of a Healthy Communities grant from the Golisano Foundation, Special Olympics BC has initiated Health Heroes training for SOBC athletes who wish to equip themselves to help educate their peers about best practices for healthy living. This creates a wider network of health advocates helping address the ongoing health issues faced by individuals with intellectual disabilities.

If you'd like to become a Health Hero, please contact Ashten Black, SOBC Coordinator, Health and Sport Science, to learn about training opportunities: ablack@specialolympics.bc.ca / 604-737-3081 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

There may already be a Health Hero in your community - if you would like to work with them, please contact Ashten and SOBC's Michelle Cruickshank: mcruickshank@specialolympics.bc.ca / 250-208-5402 / 1-888-854-2276 toll-free.

Current Health Heroes in action

April 2017 training

The April 2016 Athlete Leadership courses saw 27 participants in the Athlete Speakers Bureau 2 and Governance complete training to become certified Sun Safety Health Heroes. These athlete leaders discussed best practices for being outdoors and received tools to share in their communities, helping fellow athletes stay healthy and safe in the sun throughout their spring sports and their active lives outdoors. The participants demonstrated great ideas for how to implement their training at home and enthusiasm to help others.

SOBC – Prince George athlete Marinka VanHage took her tools and knowledge to the Soccer Regional Qualifier for Region 8 hosted by SOBC – Quesnel, where she helped her fellow athletes get up to speed on health info. She shared sun safety advice as well as tools from SOBC such as bracelets that change colour in the sun, reminding about exposure, and chapstick to help prevent sunburned lips.

VanHage filed the following report:

"I spoke to all the athletes and coaches when we got [a group] picture taken. They were listening when I explained about sun safety. I asked them if they knew what to do and then showed them the [educational items I was given].

"Then I went to each team later on and asked if they needed anything. Most of the athletes already had sunscreen and water bottles but a lot of them did not have lip chap so I gave them lip chap. They really liked the bracelets. I think that it was a good idea and I would do it again."

Wonderful work by Marinka and all the athlete leaders spreading the word about health and sun safety!