TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Kathy Champion as the 17th Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight's game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Champion, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Southeastern Guide Dogs.
Champion is a true American hero. While serving in Iraq she was seriously wounded and lost feeling in the left side of her body and also contracted Transverse Myelitis. The crippling disease that she and 7,500 of her fellow combat veterans share has left her blind. In spite of all that, Champion has spent the last five years helping other wounded veterans with their disabilities.
Champion has been involved with many charitable efforts over the past five years that benefit wounded soldiers, including Special Operations Warrior Foundation, Helping Our Troops and Operations Never Forgotten. She also served as CEO of the TAMCO Foundation, an organization dedicated to assisting severely wounded veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Despite her disabilities, Champion has made some amazing adaptations to her life. She plays golf with the aid of her sighted partner, guide dog, Angel, and also ran a half-marathon.