A benefit concert Sept. 21 is raising funds to afford visually-impaired skier Logan Leach (pictured with his guide and silver medals at the 2019 Canada Winter Games) a trip to the National Prospect Camps. (Submitted Photo)

Event gives Okanagan athlete a shot at worldly dreams

Benefit concert to help visually impaired skier Logan Leach afford national prospect camp

It’s hard enough strapping two boards to your feet and racing down a mountain as fast as you can but local high school athlete Logan Leach does it with a visual impairment. This year he continues with his ambition of competing on the world circuit for Para-Alpine and ultimately, qualifying for the Winter Paralympic Games.

He has been invited to the National Prospect Camps this year and with this comes a huge expense as he not only has to get himself there but also his guide.

“His family must cover the costs for the guides wage, he needs new equipment and well, the list goes on,” said Anna Carter, who has worked with Leach at Charles Bloom for the past three-and-a-half years as his EA/Braillist. “His goal is to one day compete in the Paralympics and knowing Logan, he will.”

To help the 16-year-old Lumby teen get there, a benefit concert takes place Saturday, Sept. 21 at the White Valley Community Centre in Lumby. The 19+ event includes a silent auction, 50/50, beef on a bun and sweets table, plus entertainment. Musical headliner is Jory Kinjo, a soul/reggae/blues artist from Calgary who has played with Ziggy Marley, BB King and will be performing at the CCMA’s this year. Backing him up are the Bad Hombres, a studio band derived from the Original Cod Gone Wild rhythm section of Chad Carter (drums) and Roy Kawano (bass) along with Jimmy Jam Taylor (original guitarist from Vernon’s The Goods). Special musical guests are Lumby’s own Mabel Lickers. Tickets are available in Lumby at The Snac Shac and The Beauty and the BarberBarber, in Cherryville at the Cherryville Emporium and Cherryville RV Golf & Roadhouse Café and in Vernon at Wentworth Music or on Facebook.

Leach has a macular degenerative eye condition called Stargardt Disease. This is a genetic condition that affects his central vision and leaves blind spots and missing pieces in his sight and he is deemed legally blind. Regardless of his diagnosis, Leach is not hindered by his vision loss and works even harder to meet his personal goals.

Leach has been skiing for approximately nine years now, starting with Silver Star Adaptive Snow Sports and then moving to the Vernon Ski Club and becoming a part of the Snow Sport Academy within the Vernon School District.

“These past two years have been huge for Logan,” said Carter. “He was the first skier with a disability to join the Snow Sport Academy in, blazing a trail for others to follow.”

In 2017 he was named to the BC Para-Alpine Development program with BC Adaptive Snowsports and in 2019 was selected to compete in the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer – his first ever competition – and he did not disappoint, bringing home a silver medal and being only a sixth of a second off from winning gold. From there he travelled to Colorado to compete in the USA/Canada Para-Alpine Nationals and won three gold medals.

READ MORE: Lumby skier swoops to Games silver

“Everyone in Logan’s world and community are so proud of this young man and he was awarded Lumby’s Athlete of the Year,” said Carter.

Upon meeting him, you would not think that his vision loss affects his life, as he certainly does not let it. However he is unable to see any writing, will walk right by people if he isn’t expecting them and will never be able to drive.

“I will never forget when he told me about one of his runs, the first thing he said to his guide was, ‘Did I DNF (did not finish)?’ for he had no idea if he missed the gates or not. He of course did not DNF, he won a silver medal!” said Carter.

“Logan is kind, humble and one of the most hard working kids I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.”

The fundraiser has Lumby Mayor Kevin Acton starting the evening, Lumby Coun. Sherry Kineshanko MC’ing and the president and coach from SSASS and BC Blindsports coming to talk a bit about Leach’s journey.

“It is going to be an evening that not only celebrates Logan, but also educates our community with what they do,” said Carter.

To donate to the auction, call or text Anna Carter at (250) 307-6789 or email acarter@sd22.bc.ca.

READ MORE: Ski or board with SSASS


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