TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Sara Robinson as the 15th Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Robinson, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to Junior Achievement, Central Florida Autism Institute Inc., and the Falls Adventure. To date, the Lightning Foundation has donated a total of $7 million to support non-profit charities through the Lightning Community Heroes program since it began at the beginning of the 2011-12 season.
Tonight’s Lightning Community Hero has used her life’s test as a testimony to give hope and affect positive change in the lives of those affected with mental disabilities. As an adopted child from Romania, Robinson was diagnosed as Mentally Retarded and suffered from a fatal disease. She eventually participated in a medical research study that helped save her life and others from this disease. After years of perseverance, a positive attitude, and the support of her adoptive family, Robinson was able to overcome her learning disability and graduate high school with honors, and then continue on to college.
Today she has become a staunch advocate for those with mental disabilities and a strong supporter for international adoption. Robinson co-wrote and successfully lobbied for the Florida Disability History and Awareness Act. After it passed, she used her own resources to produce videos on disability awareness which were shown in Florida schools. She is the youngest member to serve on the Florida Developmental Disability Council. Robinson also represents Florida youth with disabilities on the Florida Youth Council. In addition to serving the needs of the local community, Robinson has taken her advocacy internationally. She was invited to the European Union and testified in support of international adoption for neglected and abandoned children in Romania.