'I never imagined': Girl with cerebral palsy plays hockey with special harness device
CALGARY -- To the delight of one avid hockey family, all members can now hit the ice thanks to a helpful device.
Piper Jackson has cerebral palsy and loves to watch her big sister Brynn from the sidelines, but on Sunday, the sisters skated side by side for the first time ever.
"I'm really happy that my sister is learning how to skate," said 11-year-old Brynn Jackson.
"I'm just happy that she's happy and she's going to learn how to play hockey."
The Calgary HEROS (Hockey Education Reaching Out Society) received a "K-Trainer" with the support of Jumpstart, Canadian Tire's charity for children.
The device is an apparatus of metal bars, straps, and an adjustable harness that helps children remain upright.
Leaders with the hockey team say it is the first of its kind to be brought to Canada.
"Every kid deserves the chance to call themselves a player. We're just really glad we had the opportunity to provide that to (Piper and her family)," said Kevin Hodgson, executive director of HEROS hockey.
The organization sponsors children with an array of financial, physical and emotional challenges to play hockey at the Max Bell Arena on Sunday mornings.
"It's amazing," said Piper's mother, Emily Jackson. "It's a wonderful organization and it's just an amazing opportunity that I never imagined Piper would have.
"It means so much to us."
HEROS will add the K-trainer device to their teams in Edmonton and Regina with goals to expand the sport to children with physical challenges.