SaskTel supports Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, inspiring youth to Never Give Up

SaskTel supports Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, inspiring youth to Never Give Up

February 17, 2023

2002 IPC World Championship Lille France - Isabell Briere Photographer

Lisa Franks now sees challenge as opportunity, and her inspiring story makes her a model presenter for the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame’s (SSHF) Never Give Up program.

Sponsored by SaskTel, Never Give Up is offered to Grade 4-8 students across the province. The program is based on the objectives of the Saskatchewan Education Curriculum, with a focus on identity and how sport contributes to the identity of self and others.

“This program has given me an incredible opportunity to share the story of how I became paralyzed at 14 and then went on to compete at the 2000 and 2004 Summer Paralympics, winning 6 gold and 1 silver medal in wheelchair sprint events,” said Lisa Franks, Never Give Up Presenter. “My story really does uphold the Never Give Up theme because there was a time after my spinal cord injury where I did want to give up.”

In April 1996, 14-year-old Lisa woke up unable to move her legs. By the end of the day her condition worsened, and she had also lost function in her arms.

Through rehabilitation Lisa regained the use of her arms; however, she was diagnosed with arteriovenous malformation – a condition where a cluster of blood vessels burst and caused damage to Lisa's spinal cord.

Doctors told her she would never walk again.

“I thought my dreams in sport were over, but through meeting other disabled athletes who are now also SSHF inductees, I realized that there was so much I could still accomplish with sport,” she said. “This made me believe my story could have a similar impact on someone and ultimately help make the Never Give Up program a success.”

The program also strives to help students understand what a positive role model is, all the while recognizing the special contributions that presenters have made to Saskatchewan athletics and our communities.

“I hope that my story remains with the students if they are ever facing tough times,” Lisa said. “Perhaps it will be a reminder that during the toughest times there will always be better days, and so much growth on the other side.”

At SaskTel, we’re dedicated to making Saskatchewan an even better place to live by investing in initiatives that positively impact our province, especially our youth. Never Give Up hits all the marks to qualify for a SaskTel Community Investment Program sponsorship and we are proud to support the SSHF’s cause.

Since 2011 Never Give Up has reached more than 18,000 students. Due to the onset of COVID-19, the program went virtual for 2021 and achieved great success reaching over 4,000 students and teachers in 46 different communities. In response, the program continues to be delivered virtually across the province.

“SaskTel’s continued sponsorship of Never Give Up has allowed us to develop the program from a localized delivery to one that is now province-wide,” said Sheila Kelly, SSHF Executive Director. “Online activations targeting youth and at-risk youth have proven to be very successful, and it is wonderful to engage students in communities that we know would never be able to make the journey to our physical location in Regina. None of this would be possible without the financial commitment received from SaskTel.”

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