SABAH Going Strong Since 1977

November 15, 2013 Updated Nov 15, 2013 at 10:03 AM EDT

By Ed Reilly

November 15, 2013 Updated Nov 15, 2013 at 10:03 AM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) Hundreds of Western New Yorkers have had the benefit of participating in the SABAH program.

Using special equipment and teams of volunteers, SABAH allows individuals with emotional, cognitive, and physical challenges a chance to ice skate and participate in a public performance held in March/April.

SABAH also provides other recreational activities year-round but the ice skating program is the most well-known.

The program currently has 750 participants that practice weekly at four local ice rinks, and SABAH officials say the number continues to grow each year.

"It allows me to feel like everybody else," adds Dan Tamburlin who uses a wheelchair on a daily basis.

SABAH is privately funded.

A fundraiser called "Starlight Night Auction & Gala" is scheduled for November 22nd at the Buffalo Convention Center starting at 6:30pm.

"This is our major fundraiser and it goes a long way to putting our athletes on the ice," says Sheila O'Brien, SABAH executive director.

While the funds raised help pay for special adaptive equipment, the SABAH experience is much more - with many athletes and volunteers forming deep friendships.