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Leo Sammarelli

November 5, 2021 @ 8:30 am - 10:00 am

For November’s theme ‘liminal’ we are pleased to present adaptive athlete, boxing coach, mentor, educator, community activist, and aspiring Paralympian Leo Sammarelli.

Leo Sammarelli is 27 years old and suffered a spinal cord injury in March 2017 that has left him paralyzed. Being wheelchair-bound hasn’t stopped him doing the things he loves and pushing the limits in a way no one thought possible. This includes wheelbarrow walking up the Grouse Grind and completing the Grandfondo on a hand-cycle. Leo is an adaptive athlete of many disciplines as well as a boxing coach. He is also a mentor and an aspiring Paralympian, involved in the community as a director of B.C boxing and teaches at Spinal Cord Injury B.C, as well as participating in SCI studies. His passion for boxing led him to create West Coast Wheelchair Adaptive Boxing and work with others around the globe. Their goal is to put adaptive boxing on the world map and have it recognized as a sport in the Paralympics.


How do you define creativity and apply it in your life and career?
Creativity for me is finding a different way then the “usual” to adapt in any circumstance or obstacle to accomplish anything you put your mind to. Living with a Spinal Cord Injury and wheelchair bound I must be creative in a non accessible world.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration or energy?
I usually find them in solitary and extreme environments or watching someone try to achieve a certain goal or movement. I teach people with many different kinds of adaptive needs/abilities and most of the time I have to find ways of achieving the movement and think outside of the box.

What’s one piece of creative advice or a tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
Anything is possible in your life when you believe, don’t be afraid of failure, it’s part of the process which causes creativity to thrive.

Who (living or dead) would you most enjoy hearing speak at CreativeMornings?
Viktor Frankle: Was an Austran Neurologist Phychiatrist, Philosopher, author and Holocaust survivor: “Everything can be taken from man but one thing: To choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way”

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Many to pick from but the most recent one is doing the Grouse Grind (Grouse Mountain) in the (wheelbarrow position). 2830 steps 6hours later.

How would you describe what you do in a single sentence to a stranger?
It’s all about attitude, no excuses.

If you could do anything now, what would you do?
I would like to fight in a 12 round boxing match in Madison Square Garden.

Where was the last place you travelled?
Cambodia in 2018, After being discharged from rehab, a good friend invited me on a mission to take medical supplies to hospitals and visit an orphanage. I learned first hand what suffering is the experiences humbled me.


November 5, 2021
8:30 am - 10:00 am
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Creative Mornings
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