A LIFE CHANGED BY THE “PITCH”
The Canadian Women’s Rugby 7s Team has qualified to represent Canada in Tokyo 2020. Women’s rugby made it’s Olympic debut in Rio 2016 and the Canadian team won the Olympic bronze medal. Over the course of the next 11 months, 12 players will realize their dream by being selected to the Olympic team out of a pool of 23 centralized in Victoria. 11 players applied to CAN Fund each with their own story. In her own words here is the story of one player who had to learn the value of self love and acceptance at the young and vulnerable age of seven.
By the middle of third grade, I lost all of my hair to a medical condition called Alopecia Universalis. I went from having long dark beautiful brown hair, to being bald. At that age, I hadn’t yet understood the beauty standards that society has placed on women. I was just a young girl terrified that I wouldn’t be beautiful anymore. I tried wigs and different treatments for years before I decided enough was enough. Feeling confident in my own skin was no easy task. Before I lost my hair, I never thought how beautiful I was, let alone how others thought of me. But when I lost my hair, my bald head was the only thing I cared about. It seemed like the girl I was before had hair, the girl full of confidence and positivity had vanished. Quickly I began to see how my baldness affected the people around me. I would get stares as I walked down the street, and people constantly asking me if I was a survivor, or what cancer I had.
The biggest hurdle I have had to overcome to get to where I am today, is finding true self love, true inner confidence. Finding strength in the face of adversity at such a young age felt like an impossible task. As I transitioned into a teenager I struggled with the forever nagging question of ‘how can I love what I see in the mirror?’.
As I entered my high school years I became very involved in athletics, and in specific Rugby. I played a season with my school and soon after I played provincially and competed in two national championships. In my grade 12 year, I was selected to represent Canada at the Youth Commonwealth Games. Rugby allowed me to feel a true sense of belonging not only on the team but in life as well. I was able to find a purpose, and a way to love myself because of the success I had playing the sport. To be good at something, and be so passionate about it is so empowering and really changed my outlook, and got me excited for my future. I was able to feel that inner confidence that I was missing before and it transferred off the field. I felt unstoppable. I realized that it didn’t matter if I had hair or not, because life isn’t about how you look or what others think of you. What matters is what you think of yourself. And I loved who I had become and hair or not wasn’t going to change that.
Of course everyday day isn’t easy. I still struggle with the idea of self-love and what it means to love you completely. To accept your adversity is one thing but to love yourself despite your adversity is another.
Looking back now, I am grateful for everything that has happened to me. Losing my hair, yes was devastating, but I have learnt to accept myself, learnt from failure and to be okay with being vulnerable. This experience has not only made me a better person but a better athlete.
She is relying on CAN Fund to be the difference maker in her journey to Tokyo.
The CRA does not allow us to earmark donations to a specific athlete. However, we can share with you the stories of the athletes who are applying to CAN Fund to give you a better understanding of the strength of character that lies within someone who is trying to be the best in the world. With every donation to CAN Fund you find out the name of the athlete supported and receive a tax receipt.
Our Adopt an Athlete program is $10,000. Right now when you adopt a Canadian athlete your donation will be matched by Eric and Vizma Sprott subsequently impacting the lives of two athletes on their journey to Tokyo.