Ice Hockey For The Good photo exhibition opens at Crystal Ice Arena
During the Ice Hockey tournament at the Winter Universiade 2019, the “Ice Hockey For The Good” photo exhibition is held on the first floor of the spectator area at Crystal Ice Arena. Its main participants are children and teenagers with Down’s syndrome.
On March 3, the exhibition was opened by Nikita Kamalov, defenseman of the Russian national Ice Hockey team, and Oksana Zhilyakova, Director of Sun in Our Hearts, a Krasnoyarsk-based regional non-profit organization. The photo exhibition is a joint project of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation, Love’s Syndrome Charitable Fund, and Sun in Our Hearts. The key goal of the project is to attract attention to families with children who have Down’s syndrome and show that people under the charitable fund’s care can study, create, have dreams, and wish to find a decent place in the society. Such children and their parents need support and other people’s acceptance.
“Our children enjoy practicing sports, such as football, hockey, swimming, exercise therapy, exactly in the same way as other people,” Oksana Zhiliakova said. “Sport means health to us. We find it very meaningful to show it to everybody. I have four children, two of them have Down’s syndrome – my eldest daughter who’s 26 years old and my youngest 6-year-old son. When my son was born, I realised that it wasn’t given me again without purpose. A few other proactive mothers and I, we decided to set up our society. Three years ago, it comprised only six families that bring up children with Down’s syndrome, now there are more than two hundred of us from all parts of the Krasnoyarsk Territory. The statistics recorded in the past 15 years shows that 13 to 15 children with the syndrome are born in Krasnoyarsk every year, and up to forty in the region in general. We show to the parents that their life goes on and it can be a full-fledged life. It’s especially important when a child has just been born and many moms simply don’t understand what they are to do next. And when they see that we’re just fine, they pull themselves together, start enjoying life and helping their children to be successful in life.”
It is noteworthy that the implementation of charity programmes is among priorities for the Russian Ice Hockey Federation. Children’s health support, more specifically for children with congenital conditions, is part of the RIHF strategy.