Adaptive sports supported with touch of island breeze

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Tim Gruensfelder(from left) of Mt. Prospect, Nina Nissly of Lake Forest and Mary Kate Callahan of La Grange. | Tricia Sweet~For Sun-Times Media

The Big
Parrothead Night 2

BENEFITTING: Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association (GLASA)

WHEN: May 19

WHERE: Under the tent at Lake Bluff Golf Club

ATTENDED: 200+

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The Jimmy Buffett lyrics “Another Saturday night and I ain’t got nobody” did not apply, as guests decked out in flip-flops and Hawaiian shirts assembled to support the Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association (GLASA) during its Big Parrothead Night 2 at the Lake Bluff Golf Club.

Coconuts filled with tropical drinks were served as guests perused the silent and live auction items. Included were a three-night stay for two at the Four Seasons Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., a week’s stay at a summer cottage on the Indiana shore of Lake Michigan, and a pair of signed game shoes from Chicago Bulls stars Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer.

The guest speaker of the night was Jonathan Heider, an elite GLASA swimmer who spent two years training at the U.S. Olympic Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Heider praised GLASA for changing his life. “I needed some form of an outlet. There wasn’t anything where I lived,” he said. “By word of mouth, we found GLASA. Before that I didn’t have the right direction. GLASA has been tremendous for me.”

Cindy Housner, GLASA executive director, knows the organization she founded has an impact. “At one time, parents who never thought their child would play sports now travel to see their child play wheelchair basketball,” she said. “Teenagers who once sat on the sidelines are now active competitors in their school sports programs, and our newly injured veterans are slowly getting their lives back due to the support we provide.”

Formed in 1993, GLASA provides sports and recreational opportunities to children and adults who have primary physical or visual impairment for those living in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin.