Tonight, Wednesday, December 11, 2019 from 5-7pm, Integrated Community Alternatives Network (ICAN) will be hosting a Celebrity Bartender event at Delta Hotels by Marriott in Downtown Utica with a very special beneficiary: Kevin Burnside, Jr., who received services from ICAN’s Kids Oneida program when he was a teenager, is training for the Paralympic team that will be competing in Beijing, China in 2022.
Kevin is a nordic skier and biathlete. A Utica native, his athleticism has been seen locally as a member of the Sitrin All Stars wheelchair basketball team and he has completed many Boilermaker wheelchair 15Ks.
Steve Bulger, CEO/Executive Director of ICAN, along with realtors from the Property Sisters of the Mohawk Valley (a sponsor in Kevin’s journey) will be guest bartenders for the event. All cash tips and check donations from the evening will go directly to Kevin and the purchase of a new bucket for him to train with.
Appetizers will be provided by Delta Hotels and DJ services by Terri Goff.
Kevin Burnside, Jr. was born with Spina bifida, walked for years when he was young with leg braces and eventually transferred to a wheelchair. His mother, Sherri, made it a point to alway push him to overcome the barriers that came along with his physical disability.
Kevin received services from ICAN’s Kids Oneida program as a teenager to support him through those difficult years and help him achieve his goals despite the stressors of his disability and of just being a teenager.
At age 14, Kevin was introduced to wheelchair basketball and quickly became an important part of the Sitrin All Stars team. He still plays with them today! At age 16, Kevin completed his first Boilermaker, earned his racing chair and has participated almost every year since.
Despite staying active and engaged with his treatment, complications from the Spina bifida led to Kevin needing both legs amputated just below the knee. He endured one surgery on his left leg when he was 24 years old and then again on the right leg at 27.
Through physical therapy and training at Sitrin, he was introduced to nordic skiing and was eventually recruited to start training for competition on the national circuit. Kevin went on to win a bronze medal in the Paralympic Nationals in Vermont in the men’s 800M Nordic Ski Sprint and then achieve gold, silver AND bronze at the 2019 Empire State Games in Lake Placid in nordic skiing and biathlon.
His success has given Kevin the opportunity to compete for a spot on the U.S. Paralympic Team which will compete in Beijing in 2022. This journey will take significant sacrifice, drive and effort as well as support from the community. ICAN is proud to support Kevin, recognizes how far he has come and is proud of how he has turned the challenges of his physical disability into a life changing opportunity. We can’t wait to see him represent his hometown of Utica in Beijing!
ICAN, founded in 1997, is an innovative, community-based provider that facilitates individual and family-driven services to restore social, emotional, behavioral health and well being to keep families together. Using the wraparound philosophy towards treatment, ICAN works with a comprehensive team to provide the child and family with individualized treatment and services to help them meet their goals. We currently provide support to over 1,200 individuals and families each day – prenatally through end of life – in over six counties.