The Rite Aid Foundation announced that Lisa Followay, executive director of the Adaptive Sports Program of Ohio (ASPO), located in Dalton, Ohio, has been awarded its KIDCHAMPSM Award for her unwavering efforts to provide athletes with disabilities the opportunity to compete in competitive and recreational sports. Followay is the 4th to receive this award.
As the mother of a disabled child, Followay realized the importance of sports early in her son Casey’s life. When the family moved to Ohio, and Followay found very few options for Casey, she decided to create opportunities, not just for Casey, but for other kids just like him, by founding ASPO in 2009.
Over the past few years, Followay has grown ASPO into the largest adaptive sports organization in Ohio. The organization serves over 300 individuals in six cities through multiple sports including basketball, sled hockey and track.
Followay also worked with the Ohio Senate to allocate funding through the Ohio Department of Education for the creation of the first interscholastic wheelchair basketball team in Ohio. Since the pilot launched during the 2015-16 school year, the program has expanded to include teams in five school districts.
“It is truly an honor to receive the KIDCHAMP Award and I’d like to thank The Rite Aid Foundation and KidCents for helping all of us at ASPO continue our important work,” said Followay. “Sports help develop focus and discipline. They teach children how to work as a team, overcome challenges and form friendships, while also improving their overall health and wellbeing. At ASPO, we want to spread the belief that children with disabilities don’t have to watch from the sidelines. They can participate in competition and make meaningful contributions to their teams… you just need to give them the opportunity!”
In recognition of her service, Followay received a $10,000 donation to ASPO and $500 in Rite Aid cash cards during a special ceremony at ASPO’s headquarters.
Congratulations to Lisa Followay, a true KIDCHAMP!