Former Blackhawks’ defenseman, Brent Sopel, has recently taken on a new fight. Brent has shifted his focus from fighting on the ice to now fighting a personal demon, in the form of dyslexia. He is not only fighting dyslexia for himself but also, for his kids and other kids around the world. Brent started the Brent Sopel Foundation in 2018 and has been taking meaningful strides towards making a difference for kids who are fighting the same battle as him.
What Is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is an extremely common learning disability that affects your reading, writing, and word comprehension, as well as other means of communication. For a more detailed description, here is the definition of dyslexia as seen on the Brent Sopel Foundation website:
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability or disorder that includes poor word reading, word decoding, oral reading fluency and spelling. It is not affected by IQ (Einstein was dyslexic), however the absence of appropriate educational support to overcome dyslexia often negatively impacts a student’s school and ultimately career success, as well as satisfaction in all areas of life. However, with early detection and diagnosis, dyslexics can receive appropriate interventions which will enable them to become successful readers and writers. (via brentsopelfoundation.org)
The Brent Sopel Foundation Mission
When you first visit the Brent Sopel Foundation website, one of the first things you see is the mission of the foundation:
Here at the Brent Sopel Foundation we are dedicated to providing financial and educational assistance to help students with dyslexia fulfill their potential through early detection and intervention. (via brentsopelfoundation.org)
Brent is taking something that has negatively affected him during his life and is now turning it into a positive not only for himself but also for his kids, and other kids around the world as well. It’s really refreshing to watch him use his platform, as a former NHL player, to his advantage and truly make a difference with something like dyslexia which is actually much more common than you may think.
Here are just a few of the staggering stats about dyslexia, via the Brent Sopel Foundation:
IT IS ESTIMATED THAT 1 IN 6 PEOPLE HAVE DYSLEXIA, AND OVER 40 MILLION PEOPLE IN THE US ALONE ARE DYSLEXIC; UNFORTUNATELY, ONLY AROUND 2 MILLION OF THEM HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED.
These numbers speak volumes on their own and the percentage of people with dyslexia will only increase, as more and more people are properly diagnosed.
Brent Sopel Interview
I was blessed with the opportunity to meet and interview Brent Sopel on Saturday, December 8th at the Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva, IL. Brent was kind enough to dedicate some of his time to share additional details, some personal stories, and some eye-opening insight about dyslexia with me during our one-on-one interview.
Here is the footage of the full interview with Brent:
It was such a fun night and there was a great turnout as well. It’s safe to say the event was a huge step in the right direction for Brent and his foundation.
When I initially met Brent on Saturday, I instantly connected to his positive outlook and his open-book mentality. His honest vision and his heartfelt message make me believe others will also be as receptive and accepting of the message Brent is putting out into the world. I have the utmost faith in Brent and have no doubt that his work ethic and determination will lead his foundation to new heights, and ultimately, have a lasting impact on future generations.
If you would like to help Brent and his cause, please visit the Brent Sopel Foundation website for more information or to make a donation.