SABAH’S 2018 CELEBRATION ON ICE
On March 24, 2018, SABAH will celebrate the achievements of more than 670 individuals challenged by disability at the annual Celebration on Ice show at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. The celebrity co-hosts for the 2018 show will be Pete Gallivan, WGRZ Daybreak Anchor, Pegula Sports and Entertainment journalist, Lauren Hall, and former Buffalo Sabre and hockey analyst, Andrew Peters.
All show tickets are $12.00 and are reserved seating. Tickets are available for purchase at the SABAH office or though our online form.
Support the Celebration on Ice
SABAH’s Februrary Athlete of the Month is a dedicated and determined athlete who has been skating with SABAH since 1993! The ever smiling Brittany Toellner attends the Niagara University Wednesday evening program with her dedicated father, Jim Toellner. The father/daughter duo skates with the advanced group, persevering through some challenging choreography. In spite of her diligence and hard work, Brittany is continually content when she is skating next to her father.
Over the past 25 years, SABAH has had the privilege of watching Brittany grow stronger and gain tremendous confidence in her skating abilities. While watching Brittany’s progress has been incredibly gratifying, it is even more heartwarming to witness the pride and happiness she experiences from her time at SABAH. Each week, Brittany has a calm and joyful spirit that seems to set the tone for her fellow SABAH athletes. As an inspirational model of hard work and diligence over many years, SABAH is very pleased to name Brittany Toellner as the 2018 February Athlete of the Month.
SABAH is excited to ring in the New Year by naming the bubbly and effervescent Steryianie Papaefthimiou as the January Athlete of the Month. With her lighthearted personality and high level of energy, Steryianie is always ready to try something new! Each Sunday morning during the SABAH season, Steryianie joins with her volunteer partner, Shannon Haugeto, to practice her skills and fly around the rink as fast as she can. The fearless duo is always seen laughing and joking while they work to improve Steryianie’s strength and independence. While Steryianie has been with SABAH intermittently since 1999, over the past five years she has committed to working very diligently to improve her abilities.
In addition to her hard work and determination, Steryianie is also a kind and compassionate friend to her fellow skaters at the Northtown Center. She is often the first person to check on anyone who has fallen or console someone who is having a difficult day. Steryianie also brings great joy to the session, as she cheerfully greets and jokes with her fellow SABAH athletes as they practice their routines. As a SABAH athlete who has been dedicated and determined, as well as thoughtful to her fellow athletes, we are pleased to name Steryianie Papaefthimiou as the January Athlete of the Month!
For the past five years, SABAH has had the wonderful privilege of watching Lylian Webster grow from a shy and timid girl into an outgoing and independent young lady. Beautiful and kind, Lylian now exudes confidence and poise, as she diligently practices each week to improve her skating skills at the Hamburg Town Rink.
At just 11 years old, Lylian continues to overcome challenges, including visual impairments, to make incredible progress each season. While Lylian took her first steps on the ice as a cautious six year old, she was quickly moved into the intermediate group at Hamburg where she continues to thrive alongside her fellow SABAH athletes. Her efforts are faithfully supported by her devoted mom and grandparents, as well as her dedicated volunteer partner, Mike Brown. Each week, Lylian and her family arrive early enough to cheerfully greet the other SABAH athletes and their families. They also routinely provide support in the skate room, participate in the Skate-A-Thon, and assist with costumes.
As Lylian prepares for her 5th Celebration on Ice show, we continue to watch her grow and mature into a role model for other young SABAH athletes. Because of her dedication, as well as her compassion and support for her friends at the Hamburg Town Rink, SABAH is pleased to name Lylian as the December Athlete of the Month.
November Athlete of the Month
Since 1995, SABAH has enjoyed the joyful spirit and enthusiastic attitude of Dan Yager. As a 33 year old SABAH, veteran, Dan is an inspirational role model for other SABAH athletes. Each week throughout the season, Dan comes to the Riverside Rink with tremendous eagerness and a strong work ethic. With the support of his volunteer partner and nephew, Jimmy Meyer, Dan diligently works to improve his skills and to skate as fast as he possibly can.
When Dan began his journey with SABAH 22 years ago, he started in the Beginner Group at the Lafayette Rink on Tuesday evenings. Throughout his time with SABAH, he progressed from novice skater to the Advanced Group, now at the Riverside Rink. Dan’s skills also improved to the point where he became a capable volunteer for SABAH’s School Day Adaptive Ice Skating program. Prior to his current employment at People, Inc., Dan volunteered on a weekly basis for non-weight bearing children in the School Day program.
As a SABAH athlete, Dan is a favorite among his peers. Each week, he keeps his fellow athletes motivated with his optimism and sense of humor. Dan also has a great memory and often reminisces with his friends about many of the events that happened when he was a younger SABAH athlete.
Dan has enjoyed prior awards with SABAH, as he was named a SABAH Ambassador in 2009 and honored with the Emily Hermance Spirit Award in 2013. For his continued determination and dedication, we are now pleased to honor Dan as the 2017 October Athlete of the Month.
Watch this story from WKBW-TV about Ryan Gaske and his determination and love for the game of football. Continue Reading
SABAH’s Athlete of the Month for October is the strong and ruggedly handsome, Gabe Venditti from the Niagara University program. Although Gabe has a tough exterior, the 15 year old SABAH athlete is also one of SABAH’s most helpful participants. Last year, along with his volunteer partner Harry Steinwald, Gabe took it upon himself to assist first year skater, Liam O’Donnell. Gabe noticed that the 7 year old skater was taking his first steps on the ice and immediately came to his rescue. He also enlisted Harry to help support Liam by positioning themselves on either side of the new SABAH athlete. Together, they each took a hand and gently skated around the ice with Liam.
At just 15 years old, it might be hard to believe that Gabe has been with SABAH for 13 years. But Gabe began in the Niagara University program when he was just two years old! In Gabe’s earliest years with SABAH, he was a fun and feisty toddler who wavered between completely happy to completely resistant. Yet, now as a young adult, Gabe is a delightful teenager who serves as a role model to his fellow participants in Niagara’s Group 1. “Gabe has grown up so much over the years,” states Executive Director Sheila O’Brien. “He is now one of the most helpful and engaging participants at the Niagara Rink. While he appears to be a tough young man on the outside, he has a very kind and compassionate side to him that already makes him a leader at the rink.”
SABAH continues to be grateful for Gabe’s hard work, commitment, and support for his fellow athletes in the Niagara program. In celebration of Gabe’s growth and dedication over the past 13 years, we are pleased to name him as the 2017 October Athlete of the Month.
September Athlete of the Month
SABAH’s Athlete of the Month for September is a true role model for individuals challenged by disability. Katie Mruk began skating with SABAH in 1993 when she was just 8 years old. Determined and dedicated, Katie has continually grown stronger and more capable as a SABAH athlete. Katie’s success is also largely due to the strong support and love she receives from her sister and volunteer instructor, Kristen. Each week, the close-knit sisters show up at the Northtown Center at Amherst to work on their skating skills and to enjoy the camaraderie and friendships they have made with their fellow Group 3 skaters. The popular pair enjoys their time together, but they also both encourage and support the other athletes in the Sunday morning program.
Katie’s dedication to SABAH doesn’t end with her participation as a SABAH athlete. After making tremendous progress with her skating skills over the years, Katie made the decision to give back to others challenged by disability by becoming a SABAH volunteer. Each week during the fall and winter, Katie volunteers for SABAH’s School Day Adaptive Ice Skating program. Along with her friends from ASPIRE, Katie provides valuable volunteer support for the children who attend SABAH’s School Day program. Katie continues to be a very kind and thoughtful volunteer who patiently helps teach children with special needs how to skate each Wednesday morning throughout the season.
Katie is also inspirational for her genuine enthusiasm for skating and, most especially, for the Celebration on Ice show. Her positive outlook and excitement are a tremendous encouragement for other athletes and volunteers. In honor of her commitment to SABAH for nearly 25 years, we are pleased to name Katie Mruk as the 2017 September Athlete of the Month.