Alumni Update – Tom Silletta 1982 TFHA Scholar
1982 TFHA Scholar
Retired teacher and coach. Currently running the only bed and breakfast in Quebec that is fully accessible to people with disabilities.
We have Terry Fox Scholars working in a wide range of fields, including medicine, activism, and tech. Do you have an area of humanitarian work you are passionate about? Tell us about it.
For the past 17 years I have been volunteering in the promotion of cross-country skiing for people with physical disabilities. I have been on the provincial and national Para-Nordic committees, organized clinics and workshops to introduce people to para-nordic skiing and was coach for the Canadian Para-Nordic team at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games.
Since Terry ran his Marathon of Hope we have seen many new life-saving advances in cancer treatment. How has the humanitarian area you have worked/volunteered in changed over the years?
Over the years there has been a great amount of energy and funds by the different levels of governments to promote and encourage the participation of sports for all people with disabilities. The population in general is more aware, receptive and accommodating for the inclusion of people with disabilities in sport and leisure activities. It is a lot easier to recruit volunteers now.
You are the first year’s recipient of the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award in 1982. How has humanitarian work impacted your life?
I received the award when I was 23 years old and in great financial need. It encouraged me to study full time and continue to volunteer in various fields. Upon graduation I continued to volunteer in sports, church activities, community work and my local elementary school. In all my humanitarian work I felt very happy to bring something to people who were in need and so grateful that I have the talent and health to continue even at 63 years old.