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James Dunn celebration

 Community celebrates James Dunn


   The 17-year old was the youngest member of Canada's sledge hockey team

   that brought home a silver medal from the PyeongChang Paralympic Games


Sunday, April 22, 2018


  • James Dunn reception




By Rob J. Ross 

DUTTON, ON - James Dunn is still getting used to signing his autograph.

The 17-year old from Wallacetown has been getting a lot of practice, writing his name on everything from hats and jerseys to his own hockey card, since returning from the PyeongChang Paralympics Games, with a silver medal, as a member of Canada's sledge hockey team.

A few hundred people lined the street through downtown here on Saturday, for a parade and later attended a ceremony at the Dutton-Dunwich community centre, all in recognition of Dunn's accomplishment.

"I never expected this many people to come out. It's really overwhelming. I'm really grateful for the support and it really means a lot. There have been tons of people congratulating me and saying hi. It has been special," said Dunn, while signing for fans of all ages. "It means so much to me to know that my community is behind me. It's really cool."

Dunn was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer in 2011 around his 11th birthday. A surgery called rotationplasty was performed on his right leg, which is amputating the leg above the knee but taking the lower part of the leg and foot, rotating it and re-attaching to the thigh bone, so the ankle functions as a knee joint. The foot, acts as a platform for a prosthetic leg to be attached.

During his recovery, Dunn was introduced to sledge hockey, by Tyler McGregor, now a teammate with Team Canada.

Dunn's passion to learn about the sport matched his determination to beat cancer. Dunn will be cancer free for almost five years.

A line of fans eager to meet their local sports hero, kept Dunn busy for over an hour signing, posing in photos and sharing stories from PyeongChang, even the heart-breaking 2-1 loss to the Americans in the dying seconds of the gold medal game.

"We were down when we got them because we lost in the final seconds," said Dunn, recalling the medal ceremony, "Now it's pretty cool. Silver is very good."

Dunn scored twice in Canada's 10-0 shutout of Italy and had four assists in a 17-0 blitzing of Sweden. He also picked up an assist in a 8-0 defeat of Norway.

Several dignitaries spoke at the ceremony hosted by the Wallacetown Optimist Club, including Elgin-Middlesex-London MP Karen Vecchio, MPP Jeff Yurek, Mary Bodnar, deputy mayor of West Elgin and Kim Gadsdon, vice-principal at West Elgin secondary school.

Many spoke of Dunn's quiet, humble personality, a soft spoken teenage who has become a role model and inspiration for all.

Dunn continues to practice with the London Blizzards intermediate team and has a goal of attending the Beijing Games in 2022.

In his Grade 12 year at West Elgin, Dunn's future education plans remain undecided, but he may return for one semester. His summer will be training for hockey and playing golf.