Determination and drive revealed in sports and work endeavours
Lisa Bailey

Reflecting on a relationship with Chris Alex that has spanned approximately 16 years, Chris Giles says he is “a typical guy like me” who has a penchant for sports, fun and good food.

“He loves a good burger at a local pub watching a game and hooting and hollering,” Chris, a residential care worker with posAbilities, says light-heartedly.

Further cementing their bond are other common interests in movies and music and they are both competitive by nature, Chris says.

At the heart of it all is something simplistic but true, Chris says, and that’s a genuine likeness for each other.

He says supporting Chris Alex has been “a huge plus” in his life, affording the chance to “watch someone grow and learn and experience a world around him.”

Since their first meeting at Lakeside House, the two have enjoyed many activities together, including travelling, camping, watching pro hockey and basketball games, dancing in clubs, eating at restaurants, and attending sports meets.

Chris Alex now lives with Chris and his family and they experience everyday life together, from gardening to grocery shopping, and reciprocate support.

“I have helped him when he was sick and he inquires how I am feeling, especially if I look tired,” Chris says.

He adds that “all the ups and downs have been talked about and when he is down and weeps, I have put my arm on his shoulder and been there to let him know I care.”

Getting to know one another’s families, Chris says he’s gained insight into Chris Alex’s deep feelings for his parents.

Chris Alex, for example, gave a moving talk at a family get-together, thanking his father for all that he has done.

Chris also cites the support and organizational skills of Chris Alex’s mother, as well as Chris Alex’s own determination, to excel in speed skating, swimming and track.

She was in Coquitlam earlier this year when Chris Alex earned medals at Special Olympics B.C.’s provincial ice sports championships, including gold in the four by 888-metre speed-skating relay. He was also third in the 777-metre event, fourth in the 1,000 metres and fifth in the 500 metres.

Chris Alex’s work ethic mirrors his athletic drive. Employed by posAbilities’ new social enterprise called Don’t Sweat It, he is building on skills honed through the organization’s work experience/training programs.

Chris says that Chris Alex has always been proud of this work. He heads to work every morning with a smile, and he regularly says he works hard then grins.

Don’t Sweat It business manager Cathleen Franck says his experience and patience, plus his eagerness to learn other aspects of the business, make him an invaluable member of the workforce.

Chris says posAbilities has played a huge role in what makes he and Chris Alex who they are today.

By fostering his growth through training and support, Chris says posAbilities has allowed him to support Chris Alex and others.

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