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ECU's Walker Center receives donation

(July 1, 2004)   —   A grant from the Pitt Memorial Hospital Foundation will enable the Walker Center at East Carolina University to bring bowling, horseback riding and adaptive SCUBA diving to Pitt County's disabled population.

David Loy, an ECU recreation therapy professor and director of the Walker Center's Adaptive Sports and Recreation Center, said the $28,000 grant allows the center to expand its outreach initiatives.

During past two years, the Walker Center has used funding from the foundation to buy equipment and prepare the facility for specialized use. This year's grant will enable the Walker Center to work with local recreational facilities, such as bowling alleys and fitness centers, to better accommodate people with disabilities.

"We are looking at having bowling programs and offering seminars about how to work with folks with disabilities and how to invite them in," Loy said.

"The Walker Center's Adaptive Sports and Recreation Center is about getting people with disabilities active and engaged in the community through recreational activities," he said.

The disabled, said Loy, represent a sizable piece of the region's population. It is important for the university and community to come together to keep the population as active and healthy as possible.

"Traditionally, this population is obese. Traditionally, they suffer from cardiovascular disease and they often have barriers to participating in sports and recreational activities," he said. "We've come a long way to provide opportunities for them."

Planning for Adaptive Sports Day, offered every fall at ECU's Student Recreation Center, is now under way. Other activities, such as the Adaptive Snow Ski Clinic, are also in the works, Loy said. New programs now under consideration include adaptive SCUBA diving, therapeutic horseback riding and bowling.

Through the grant, the center will also sponsor individuals to participate in gym programs at area recreation and fitness centers, he said.

Other local organizations, including STAR (Support Team for Active Recreation) and ECU's ARISE Club, work with the Walker Center for funding and program activities.

"It's a true collaborative effort," Loy said. "It's how things should be done. We have the university, the community and the financial leg, all working together.


Contact: ECU News Bureau | 252-328-6481