"Wheelchair Challenge" initiative that seeks to highlight the everyday mobility challenges that a person using a wheelchair experiences

July 15, 2012 -- The Virginia G. Piper Sports & Fitness Center (SpoFit) will host a basketball game that includes Mayor Greg Stanton and members of the Banner Wheelchair Suns players on Wednesday, July 18th, at 5:30pm.

"I'm excited to get out on the court and have some fun, but I'm also looking forward to getting firsthand experience on everyday mobility challenges," Mayor Greg Stanton said. "I hope to gain an understanding I didn't have before and work with the community to address the disability issues our city faces."

The game, in partnership with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, is part of the "Wheelchair Challenge" initiative that seeks to highlight the everyday mobility challenges that a person using a wheelchair experiences.

Following the game, a community discussion of issues impacting people with disabilities will take place at the center. The public is invited to watch Mayor Stanton play basketball in the new SpoFit facility and then join the mayor for a discussion about disability issues as they relate to the city of Phoenix.

"I am impressed with Mayor Stanton's enthusiastic acceptance and his willingness to go 'all in' for the challenge," Phoenix resident and full-time wheelchair user, Jennifer Longdon said. "Our city is still young and growing. Thoughtful planning for universal access creates a welcoming city that is barrier-free to all, be it wheelchair users, cyclists or someone pushing a stroller."

"We are excited to partner with our friends in Phoenix and Mayor Stanton," said Peter T. Wilderotter, President and CEO of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. He continued, "With 5.6 million Americans living with some form of paralysis, access is paramount, and this local initiative paves the way for change."

The Reeve Foundation, a national nonprofit headquartered in New Jersey, is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy.

The Virginia G. Piper Sports & Fitness Center (SpoFit) is located at 5031 E, Washington St., Phoenix, AZ, 85034. The 45,000-square-foot center opened in October, 2011, and is designed to accommodate people with disabilities for fitness, sports and recreational activities. The center was built in part through the City of Phoenix 2006 bond program.

For more information, call 602-386-4278 or visit www.spofit.org.