The Bolton Bulls wheelchair basketball club provides wheelchair basketball to people of all ages, disabilities and gender from all over the North West of England including Bolton, Bury, Blackburn, Wigan and Stockport.
This morning the family that is wheelchair basketball woke to some devastating news that Josie Cichockyj had passed away yesterday.
Josie has devoted her life to disability sport; she was a Three times Paralympian, 5,000m World Record Holder, British record holder in every distance from 100m to 5,000m and Captain of the Great Britain Women's Basketball Team.
Josie has coached a variety of players from top end athletes representing their country playing in tournaments across the world to juniors just starting out in the sport. Josie was truly passionate about the sport that we play, she was well known in our sport and the contribution to the wheelchair basketball world will not go unnoticed.
Josie spent a lot of her time with her much beloved team Manchester Mavericks, who we play in the Division 3 North / Midlands league, along with North West Juniors where under 16’s and under 19’s from North West clubs were able to go and compete against other clubs in the country. Josie also had a big hand in the women’s league with coaching and playing.
Several members of Bolton Bulls have played under Josie either with the North West juniors or at Manchester Mavericks and will always be grateful for her support on and off court. Those of us who haven't played under her have certainly had the pleasure of playing against her in what were always intense and competitive matches; a testament to how well she prepared her teams for matches.
Away from wheelchair basketball, Josie has run a number of her own businesses, becoming an inspiration and motivatational speaker at a number of primary and secondary schools in the country, along with speaking for large corporate companies. Josie helped people realise their dreams and touched the lives of many through sharing stories and experiences.
Josie is a truly inspirational woman. I have only been in the game of wheelchair basketball for a short period of time, but I have had the privilege of knowing this remarkable lady. Josie was awarded a scholarship earlier in the year by aerobility, a passion that Josie and I shared. Being able to give advice and guidance to a true legend felt truly remarkable. Josie you will be sadly missed by all.
Bolton Bulls would like to offer our dearest sympathies to Josie's partner Sandra and the family in their time of need.
At our next game we will hold a 1 minute round of applause for this true legend as a minute silence wouldn’t be appropriate as this lady was never quiet!