Updated: Sep 10, 2021
Surrey's Marco Pasqua (photo: Marco Pasqua)
Spencer van Vloten
September 9th, 2021
Born with cerebral palsy, Marco Pasqua's journey as a public speaker and accessibility advocate has included working alongside his mentor Rick Hansen, giving a highly applauded TEDx talk, and even scaling down skyscrapers.
We talked with Marco about what laid the foundation for his success and why he thinks it's so important to look beyond disability.
LEARN MORE ABOUT MARCO PASQUA
What was life like for you growing up with a disability?
Marco: I’m very fortunate to come from a family that was about going after the things you want in life. I think a lot of that was from being a first-generation Canadian, my dad coming from Italy. That immigrant mentality was perfect to help get me out there and not to body shame or feel sorry for myself.
My parents never gave up on me and they got me involved in a lot of activities. My dad had dreams of his only son being soccer superstar, and that motivated me to do wheelchair track and field, horseback riding, swimming, weightlifting.
That intro to sports really changed my life.
At what point did the motivational speaker in you start to emerge?
Marco: I was exposed to speaking on a large stage for the first time at 9-years-old. It was during Timmy’s Christmas Telethon for Easter Seals, and I had such a positive experience from that and being involved in Easter Seals camps.
I was on stage during the telethon and Red Robinson came up and asked what camp meant to me, and I was so excited and gave this long explanation. Red was impressed and asked me to come back as an ambassador the next year.
That was a critical moment for me, and when I realized that news and media could be used as platforms for good.
Marco speaking during Timmy's Telethon (photo: Marco Pasqua)
You’ve been involved in many initiatives and causes - tell us about some of them.
Marco: I’m on the board for the Sunshine Foundation of Canada, which fulfills dreams for children with disabilities. They filled a dream for me when I was a kid, so it’s come full circle and it’s incredible to be able to pay that forward.