The North Suburban YMCA will host its eighth annual “Wheels vs. Wheels” wheelchair football event July 25 in Northbrook.
The event will bring together members of the Northwestern football team, wheelchair athletes from the Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association (GLASA), the Journey of Hope cross-country bike team and players from the North Shore Youth Football organization to encourage “children and adults to participate in ‘play’ and athletics regardless of a disability or special needs,” according to a press release.
The event, which is open to the public, will include a meet-and-greet with Northwestern football players followed by a wheelchair football game between GLASA members and the Journey of Hope cyclists.
The event is partially supported by Pat and Stacy Fitzgerald, the head coach of the Northwestern football team and the president of North Shore Youth Football, respectively.
“We’re thrilled to welcome these outstanding organizations back to the Y for our second Wheels vs. Wheels event,” Kim Nyren, NSYMCA Director of Community Investment, said in a press release. “The Journey of Hope team’s visit has become a cherished Y tradition, and our partnerships with GLASA, Northwestern Football, and North Shore Youth Football have expanded the event to bring a wider spectrum of the community together. Everyone is invited to meet these athletes and share in their inspiring experience.”
Founded in 1999, GLASA promotes and supports “optimal development and well-being of youth, adults, and military veterans, who have physical or visual disability through the provision of inclusive recreation, fitness, and competitive sports activities.”
The Journey of Hope cross-country ride is sponsored by The Ability Experience, which is the national philanthropy of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. It looks to “instill lifelong service in its members and enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities.”
North Shore Youth Football “is the only youth organization in the North Shore area to offer safe, tackle football for 6-9 year olds.”