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Laurie Watt: The Advance

Barrie police officers are taking on the city's firefighters in a race that will help people in wheelchairs.
Both emergency services workers will have teams in Sunday's 7th-annual Barrie Wheelchair Relay Challenge, a fund-raiser that supports the local Canadian Paraplegic Association's activities.
"We have a lot of friendly challenges with the fire department. It's always a lot of fun," said Const. Rich Johnston.

"Our friendly rivalry with our fellow emergency response partners is secondary. It's all for charity."

Not ones to back down from a challenge - especially one that benefits the community - the firefighters are pulling together a team for Sunday morning's race at the Event Centre.

Last year, the police had two teams in the event that raised $50,000, to support the CPA's local programs such as peer counselling and support, rehabilitation counseling, advocacy and vocational and employment services.

"Life doesn't end. That's what the CPA is all about.

"We work, shop, date, do all the things normal people do, but we do it from a sitting position," explained Heather Hollingshead, the CPA's regional services co-ordinator.

The police were inspired to issue the challenge to the firefighters after an officer suffered a spinal cord injury that confined him to a wheelchair.

"A close personal friend of mine was involved in a car accident

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