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Summer 2017 Fellows standing or seated in wheelchairs, smiling and posing for the camera

Candace Cable, Policy Apprentice

National Leadership Program, Spring 2019

Candace Cable smiling

Candace Cable

Candace Cable was a Public Policy/Employment Apprentice in RespectAbilitys National Leadership Program for Spring of 2019. RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Cables involvement in sports after a spinal cord injury in 1975 at the age of 21 gave her renewed health, the ability to socially re-engage and a purpose in life. After her 27-year Paralympic athletic career, she uses this platform to effect positive global cohesive change for people with disabilities through her disability education training, consulting, writing, volunteering and speaking.

She is a nine-time Paralympian who competed in three sports: wheelchair racing, alpine and nordic ski racing. Cable won 12 medals and became the first American woman to medal in both Summer and Winter Paralympics in 1992. She also had the opportunity to compete on an Olympic stage, when wheelchair racing was an exhibition event, in three Summer Olympic Games, 84, 88, 92 and won two bronze medals.

Cable made major contributions to the evolution of the racing wheelchairs now used for track and road races all over the world, in distances from 100 meters to the Marathon 26.2 miles. She won 84 running marathons as a wheelchair road racer, including six Boston Marathons. In 2000 she joined the Outward Bound Girls on the Move project riding her handcycle 3,865 miles in three months, across the country, and stopping in 1500 communities to support girls and women to make healthy choices and be physically active.

Upon retirement from her sports career in 2006, she began sharing personal stories and designing programs to create an understanding of disability as a human life experience with Social Cohesion Resources. She co-founded Social Cohesion Resources to design Understanding Disability programs and trainings for non-disabled people to build empathy for the experience of disability. Instructors with disabilities share personal stories interwoven in the trainings. These trainings bring to light the truth that disability is human life experience we all will have, and there is nothing to fear. 

Her freelance writing includes not only Understanding Disability but also a lifestyle blog, contributing to the U.S. Adaptive Nordic Skiing instruction manual, the UNICEF Inclusive Education booklet, covering the Paralympic Games, as well as for various media outlets.

Her other work includes gigs as a webcast host, video producer and Human Rights representative to the United Nations for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability. Cable has worked with the Christopher and Dana Reeves Foundation, Open Doors Organization, and with the U.S. State Department in its Speaker/Specialist program. One of her great successes is serving as the Director of Paralympic and Disability Engagement and Vice Chair for the LA2028 commissions successful bid to bring the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games to Los Angeles. 

Her volunteer work includes UNICEFs inclusive education task force, Vice President of US International Council on Disability (USICD), the Southern California Olympian and Paralympian Association (SCOPA), and the US Olympian and Paralympian Association (USOPA). She was an Athlete Services Coordinator for the 2010 Winter Paralympic games and in 2012-2016 served on the United States Olympic Committees Athlete Advisory Council.

Cable is grateful she grew up playing outdoors with her two sisters, her brother and neighborhood friends. Her desire for fun and adventure kindled with family and friends has been a compass when choosing a direction for her life. Its true her spinal cord injury was not a choice, but what she did after that has continued to include fun and adventure. Her love of learning keeps her listening to podcasts, reading and engaging in stimulating conversations and relationships. She gave up cooking and gardening to spend time seeking out well-prepared meals and exploring public gardens.


RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact [email protected] for more information.



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Candace Cable
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