L.I.F.E Attends 17th Annual Giant Steps Award Banquet

 From left to right: Jodi Norton, Richard Lapchick, Bianca Augusto

From left to right: Jodi Norton, Richard Lapchick, Bianca Augusto

L.I.F.E President and Co-Founder, Jodi Norton, and V.P. of Public Relations, Bianca Augusto, attended the National Consortium’s 17th Annual Giant Steps Award Banquet and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Orlando, Florida. The National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS) has spent the past 29 years developing and presenting quality programs designed to help improve the lives of student-athletes—focusing on ethical leadership, teamwork, diversity and inclusion, community service and degree completion programs.  

President Richard Lapchick founded the NCAS as a way to use the power of sport to affect positive social change. They educate and empower individuals and organizations by inspiring values-based thinking leading to action that promote social responsibility and equality. The evening was inspiring and presented heart-felt stories of overcoming adversity and how one person can challenge themselves and make a difference in the world.

Richard Lapchick’s wife Ann and daughter Emily were first introduced to Jodi Norton at the 1995-96 Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Awards Luncheon in Cape Cod. Richard was the keynote speaker. He stated “The event changed our lives because we were introduced to Jodi Norton, a diver at Columbia University with great athletic gifts, intelligence, an incredible smile, and enormous courage to overcome the obstacles of a life-threatening autoimmune disease---systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)”. At the event, Jodi was selected to receive the Award of Valor based on her success in athletics, academics and community service. She was selected from over 400 nominations. The following year, she was awarded the NCAS and Sport in Society Giant Steps Award in Boston as a courageous female student-athlete. 

 Jodi Norton with the Lapchick family

Jodi Norton with the Lapchick family

The 2014 event brought back many memories for Jodi. In addition, Bianca had the opportunity to meet Richard and meet inspirational individuals. According to Bianca “The most memorable speaker of the night was the recipient of the Courageous Student Athlete Award, Memuna Mansaray McShan. I later realized this was the same award Jodi received back in 1997.” Born in a civil war raged country where rebels attacked her family home, Memuna's right arm was shot resulting in amputation. Memuna overcame many obstacles from refugee camps and separation from her biological family to insecurities and stares as a result of her amputation. “After listening to this young woman’s truly inspirational speech, I realized she reminded me of Jodi. These two women, separated by decades, have in their own ways found the inner strength to share their personal stories and have overcome physical limitations as star athletes. Their stories are both one of hope and triumph; they truly demonstrate what it is to be courageous,” says Bianca.