Cat’s Track #67 – Harrison Orpe

 In Cat's Track

Welcome to Cat’s Track Episode 67, with guest Harrison Orpe.

Harrison Orpe is a Paralympic athlete, graduate student, aspiring registered psychologist, and a leader in the disabled community. Harrison was born and raised in Calgary. Harrison was born prematurely along with his twin brother Mitchell. Shortly after birth, Harrison experienced extremely high blood pressure causing a stroke and significant brain haemorrhage. Harrison was diagnosed with Cerebral palsy early in life and utilizes a wheelchair. Living with a disability has shaped Harrison’s perspective in life and taught him the importance of positivity, adaptation, and resilience.

Harrison has always had a passion for helping others and mental health. Harrison graduated with a B.A. in psychology from Mount Royal University in 2018. He is currently pursuing his master’s degree in Counselling Psychology. Harrison has worked for many different agencies including the Distress Centre Calgary and has recently finished his graduate clinical internship with The Mustard Seed, where he was a mental health clinician. Harrison is currently completing his master’s thesis focusing on the mental health of males with spinal cord injuries.

Harrison has been involved in sports from a very early age playing baseball, sledge hockey, and wheelchair rugby. Prior to starting wheelchair rugby, Harrison began strength training and gained considerable strength and muscle over a period of 5 years. While playing wheelchair rugby Harrison discovered para athletics and thought it would suit him well considering his strength and power.

Harrison began training with the Canadian Para throws coach Kim Cousins and he knew that Para athletics would be his path to the highest level of sport and representing Canada. In his first International competition he won gold in both Javelin and Shot Put. He currently holds the Canadian record in seated javelin at 14.03m and is just centimetres away from the Canadian record in seated shot put as well. Harrison is currently a member of the National Team and represented Canada at the Para Pan Am games in Lima, Peru in August 2019. Harrison achieved a personal best throw at the games and was competitive within the field placing fifth. Harrison is currently training to be selected for the 2021 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan