To say that Julianne Miszk is an inspiration to those around her would be an understatement. Born with both physical and cognitive challenges, Julianne has refused to let those disabilities define her or those obstacles stop her from living her dream.
She developed a love of swimming and running, and competed in the Para-Athlete division of Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) provincial championships in swimming, cross-country and track and field throughout her years at Saint Michael Catholic High School. Wearing the burgundy Mustangs uniform, she became a seven-time OFSAA Para-Athlete Champion.
She has competed at the national Para-Athletic level, winning a silver medal in the 800-metre race in Edmonton, Alberta in 2015. That year, she was named Para-
Athlete of the Year by the Niagara Sport Commission.
In 2016, Julianne was diagnosed with cancer in her jaw. Despite her illness and ongoing treatments, Julianne competed in – and won – the Southern Ontario Secondary Schools Association (SOSSA) Para Mixed Division three-kilometre cross country race, and went on to win a silver medal at OFSAA.
Julianne has moved on from Saint Michael Catholic High School, and is now enrolled in Niagara College’s Community Integration Through Cooperative Education program. She’s one of just 12 students selected to participate in the program – which provides students living with developmental disabilities and/or other significant learning challenges the opportunity to experience post-secondary life and to improve their academic, vocational and social skills.
On January 28, Julianne was inducted to the Niagara Falls Sports Wall of Fame – one of seven inductees for the year – joining some of the city’s most storied athletes from across the city. Her former teacher, Victor Pietrangelo, a member of Niagara Falls City Council, was on hand to help present her with the award.
Photos at top:
Left: Julianne at the podium with Niagara Falls city councillors Mike Strange (left), and Victor Pietrangelo. They have been tremendous cheerleaders for Julianne throughout her journey.
Right: Julianne with Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati.Good News