In Memory of Catherine Nelson

female wheelchair athlete

Our community mourns the loss of a promising young wheelchair basketball athlete

It is with heavy hearts and great sadness that we share the news of the sudden passing of one of our young athletes, Catherine Nelson. Catherine passed away on the morning of April 24, 2020 at the age of 15.

Catherine was a bright and talented young athlete full of incredible potential. She began playing wheelchair basketball in 2017 when she joined the Variety Village Rolling Rebels, a club team based in Scarborough. She took to the sport immediately and quickly began developing her skills and competing in local league games. She was named to both the Team Ontario Junior and Women’s Development provincial teams during the 2019-2020 season and most recently competed in the 2020 Ontario Winter Games. She was looking forward to representing the province at the end of the season in the 2020 Junior East Regional Championship in Fredericton and the 2020 Défi Sportif in Montreal prior to the cancellation of those events.

Although quiet and shy in nature, she was a force to be reckoned with on court. Her power, strength, and determination are what stood out to others. She was extremely coachable, and absorbed information from her coaches and executed plays with ease. She loved to challenge herself and was always hungry to learn more from her coaches and teammates. Catherine had a real passion for the game and played with admirable skill and  confidence. She was kind, friendly, gentle, and humble, and will be sorely missed by the entire wheelchair basketball community.

Our condolences go out to Catherine’s family, as well as her friends, teammates, and coaches during this difficult time. A memorial service for Catherine has been scheduled for Monday May 11. Further details will be made available at a later date.

As per the family’s wishes, anyone wishing to make a contribution in Catherine’s memory are welcome to donate to the Team Ontario Wheelchair Basketball Program. Donations can be made using the following link

During this difficult time, we want you to know that we are here to offer support. Please reach out to Josée, Katherine, Robyn, Shirka or Laura if you want to talk or need anything at all.

About the Ontario Para Network

Formerly known as the Ontario Wheelchair Sports Association, our mission at the Ontario Para Network (ONPARA) is to grow adaptive sport opportunities across Ontario. As the governing body for wheelchair sports in the province, we strive to offer opportunities for individuals with disabilities to participate in wheelchair athletics, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis at recreational, competitive and high performance levels.