Shared with permission from Paralympics New Zealand
In May 2019, Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) started The Celebration Project to officially acknowledge our 209 New Zealand Paralympians. To date, 83 Paralympians have received their unique numbered pin and certificate at The Celebration Project community events.
126 Paralympians are still to be acknowledged with many scheduled to attend the upcoming Celebration Project community events to be held in Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown throughout 2020/2021 (dates tbc).
With some Paralympians unable to attend events, PNZ has taken to the road to meet with individual Paralympians. Today Paralympian #108 Tom Simeon was presented with his unique numbered pin and certificate in a special reception in Auckland.
On Thursday 23 July 2020, PNZ Chief Executive Fiona Allan was invited to Tom’s home. Geneva Healthcare, one of New Zealand’s trusted experts in disability support and Community Living home provider for Tom for more than 17 years, contributed to the organisation of this event.
On this day, Tom officially received his Paralympic pin (#108) and celebrated his achievements with his flatmates, carers, PNZ and Boccia New Zealand representatives. The official Paralympic ‘number’ is a unique number that is bestowed only once a Paralympian has competed at their first Paralympic Games. Athletes are then ordered alphabetically within each Paralympic Games.
Tom was the first New Zealand representative to compete in the Para sport of Boccia, alongside Paralympian #92 Henk Dijkstra at the Paralympic Games. Tom competed at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games in individual and pairs Boccia events. He was part of a team of 34 Kiwi Paralympians who collectively won 19 medals.