Greg Westlake's parents donated a record CAN$1 million to the Paralympic Foundation of Canada ©CPC

The parents of Canadian Para-ice hockey star Greg Westlake have pledged to donate a record CAN$1 million (£578,000/$778,00/€640,000) to the Paralympic Foundation of Canada.

The largest private contribution to the foundation since its inception in 2015 is set to go towards supporting athletes with a disability at all levels of Para sport.

Westlake was part of the Canadian team that clinched gold at Turin 2006 before going on to win bronze at Sochi 2014 and silver at Pyeongchang 2018.

The 34-year-old has also won two World Championship titles.

Westlake’s parents, Jim and Deb, weren’t sure what the future held for their son when he required two below-the-knee amputations at just 18 months old due to a congenital lower limb condition.

It wasn’t until they saw a story in the newspaper about an athlete with a similar disability that they knew he could also be involved in sport.

The chance to make sure other families are aware of the opportunities in sport for Canadians with a disability is the reason for Westlake's parents' generous donation.

"Jim and I have the same motto when it comes to donations: if you can, you should," said Deb.

"I think particularly this year, a year that’s changed our lives like no other year ever, if you’re going to and you can, you should because it can make a big impact."

The huge sum is set to be used to support local programmes and coaching as well as purchasing equipment and providing quality training and competition opportunities.

Marc-André Fabien, President of the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), thanked the Westlake family for making a big difference to many people.

"The Westlake family is a long-valued member of the Paralympic community in Canada, and they have a genuine wish to give more children, families, and individuals the opportunities they have experienced and more," said Fabien.

Greg Westlake is a three-time Paralympic medallist including a gold at Turin 2006 ©Getty Images
Greg Westlake is a three-time Paralympic medallist including a gold at Turin 2006 ©Getty Images 

"This generous, record-breaking donation will have a considerable impact on the Paralympic Movement in Canada, helping us to increase awareness about accessible, inclusive sport, and providing more opportunities for people with a disability to discover the benefits of sport."

Jim has also dedicated many years in support of Canadian Para sport through his work on the the CPC Board of Directors from 2006 to 2017 and as the founding chair of the Paralympic Foundation of Canada, a role in which he continues to serve.

"When I look at the disability world more broadly, it’s not about high-performance sport, it’s about accessibility and inclusiveness," said Jim.

"I think that the world has gotten a lot better than it was, but it still has a long way to go. But I do think a big part of what the Paralympics has done for people with a disability goes well beyond the athletes and the Paralympics themselves."

Deb added: "Your hero can be a kid like Greg.

"Your hero can be the fastest swimmer you’ve seen with one leg.

"I think when your heroes change and the image of your heroes change, your society gets better and more inclusive.

"We all know that people have differences, but everyone deserves a level playing field. I think the Paralympic world offers that.

"And it will continue to get better and more inclusive, and the playing field will continue to become much more level in the future – if people build on the foundation we have now. 

"That’s why I’m happy to share what I can."