Office for People With Developmental Disabilities

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BJ Stasio

03/24/19
BJ Stasio

When B.J. Stasio’s application to participate in a local 5-K race was denied, he took action and, with the help of two of his friends, formed Racin!, the Rollin’ Athletic Club Inclusion Network in Buffalo, to give people with disabilities opportunities to wholly participate in road races.

And six-plus years and three specialized racing chairs later, nearly 100 people with disabilities have participated in 5-K races, teaming up with volunteers who assist them. The RACIN! group averages 10-12 races per year. Racers not only experience the challenge and thrill of a race; they also give back to the community organizations who are sponsoring the race.

When B.J. is not ‘racin!,’ he is the self-advocacy coordinator for OPWDD’s State Operations Office in Western New York.  He is also a board member of the Disability History Museum, the National Federation of Just Communities in WNY, and the Self-Advocacy Association of NYS.

“Advocacy is my life,” said Stasio.  “RACIN! may have started because of what happened to me, but it’s moved way beyond that now. Everything I do is truly about others.”

And that is what makes B.J. One of a Kind.