Christopher Saint-Remy has faced his fair share of adversity and then some at just 28 years old. He was born without a fully formed right leg and has worn a prosthetic his entire life. Saint-Remy also suffers from prune-belly syndrome, a rare disorder characterized by the partial or complete absence of abdominal muscles. On top of all of that, his mother and main caregiver, Gina Saint-Remy Cyriaque, passed away from colon cancer in 2009.
Despite all of the obstacles he’s faced, Saint-Remy has remained positive and confident thanks to one thing: basketball.
“Wheelchair basketball gives me a lot of confidence, especially with all of the stuff I’ve been going through,” said Saint-Remy, who lives in Elmont, N.Y. “Wheelchair basketball and basketball in general have taught me not to give up.”
Born in Haiti, Saint-Remy came to the United States when he was approximately 8 years old to get the proper care and treatment for his prune-belly. He had a 16-hour operation in North Carolina that reduced the size of his bladder and reorganized his organs; the procedures were needed due to his lack of abdominal muscles. The doctors were worried Saint-Remy wouldn’t survive the operation.
After rehabilitation, which included learning to walk again, Saint-Remy relocated to New York. There he began playing basketball, specifically able-bodied basketball, when he was about 10 years old.
“Basketball helped me through it all,” he said. “It introduced me to all of my friends; they didn’t treat me like I was disabled because I was able to do all the things they were able to do. That’s how I got through things, by playing basketball and going to school.”
After playing able-bodied basketball growing up, it wasn’t until his junior year at Sewanhaka High School in Floral Park, N.Y., when Saint-Remy transitioned to wheelchair basketball. Wheelchair basketball gave Saint-Remy the opportunity to attend college; he received a scholarship to play at the University of Arizona, but he returned home when his mother passed away.
Saint-Remy continues to actively play wheelchair basketball. He’s currently on the Nassau Kings, a New York-based wheelchair basketball team that plays in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) Division II. The Kings recently won the 2017 Matthew Sapolin Memorial Wheelchair Basketball Tournament in Brooklyn, defeating the San Diego Wolfpack 53-51 in the Division II final. Saint-Remy was named division MVP.
“The feeling of being on the court is amazing,” Saint-Remy said. “I have no limitations on the court. I’m focused on helping my team win and focused on getting to the top and winning a championship.”
Wheelchair basketball utilizes a classification system, ranking each player from 1 to 4.5 points based on his or her functionality, with 1.0 indicating the least functional ability and 4.5 the most. Saint-Remy is characterized as a 4.0. NWBA teams are allowed to field a maximum of 15 combined points at any given time on the court.
While he plans to play wheelchair basketball for as long as he can, Saint-Remy’s No. 1 goal is to represent the United States at the international level. The only issue is he isn’t an American citizen, but he’s working on obtaining his green card in order to help turn his dream into a reality. Saint-Remy also wants to help motivate and inspire others who going through similar situations.
Every morning Saint-Remy thanks God for life, his family, his friends, his girlfriend, and of course, basketball—what he refers to as his starting five.
“Basketball has affected a lot of different aspects of my life,” he said. “Basketball gave me a path to a life after my mom passed away. Because of basketball I was able to go to school. Basketball introduced me to so many wonderful people who also gave me guidance in life. Basketball is everything to me.”
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.