Action Day conference brings resources to those with disabilities

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MARQUETTE – Since 2000, the Superior Alliance for Independent Living- or SAIL- has held a conference at Northern Michigan University every other year.

The event is for individuals with disabilities to learn about the different resources available to them to live an independent life. According to a 2012 report from the CDC, 1 in 5 people live with a disability.

But as evidenced by today’s conference, there are resources available for those who live independently.

“SAIL is a center for independent living so we try to help people with resources, connect and have that peer support,” said Sarah Peurakoski, Executive Director of SAIL. “It’s really important that the Upper Peninsula community understands that there are resources up here and we are trying to help people and to just call us and ask for any type of resources you’re looking for.”

Today’s technology allows anyone to quite easily hop online and search for help. With over 200 people in attendance, it’s easy to see that some still prefer that in person interaction.

“Here it’s face-to-face, you’re meeting people and talking to them,” says Peurakoski. “You might be able to share an experience with someone that lives with a disability and has the same disability. They can share those experiences. It’s really important, I think, for people to come out and actually talk with other people, and really have that support system in our community and that’s what we’re here for.”

One of those vendors was Allen Beauchamp. Allen was an avid hockey player before he became paralyzed in an ATV accident. Since that accident Allen has found a new way to love the sport, by starting a sled hockey team right here in Marquette.

“For somebody like myself that played traditional ice hockey and then had an incident where they might not have been able to play the sport anymore, and then to transition back into something very similar like sled hockey, is completely amazing,” says Beauchamp, who is the General Manager of the team. “I fell in love with the sport all over again.”

The team will be holding its first practice October 28 at Lakeview Arena. The practice is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. but participants are asked to arrive at 4 p.m. for equipment distribution.

You can also email Beauchamp at allenbeauchamp@charter.net or call at (906) 360-3019.

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