A group of Western New Yorkers believe that as many people as possible should have the chance to be involved in local running events. During the past few months, they’ve tried to do something about it.
They formed the Rollin’ Athletic Club Inclusion Network, which shortens to “RACIN!”
“I work for the Western New York Developmental Disabilities Office as a psychologist,” Eric Frank said. “One of my colleagues, BJ Stasio, is in a wheelchair, and he was unable to enter the Corporate Challenge. We said, that’s not cool. We need to make sure people in wheelchairs, and those with developmental disabilities, can take part in local operations.”
Frank and the rest of the group contacted Frank Cammarata of the Erie County Office for the Disabled along with other groups in 2013 on what to do next. It should be noted that RACIN! is not a government program and received no funding from that source, and it’s also separate from Frank’s employer.
A committee was formed, monthly meetings were held, and an organization was formed. RACIN became a part of the Developmental Disability Alliance of WNY. All of that, naturally, was the easy part.
“Financially, it’s going to take a big effort,” Frank said. “We’ve been talking to people in the community. Our goal is to get people in the racing community on board. The goal is inclusion for people with disabilities. They haven’t been included in activities that are out there. We want to break through.”