In this 11th edition, in honour of February being Black History Month and National Girls…
There is so much to be thankful for in life and my relationship with gratitude is definitely a great one! When I was three years old, I was diagnosed with meningitis, septicemia and gangrene. This was a life-threatening disease leaving me with less than a two percent chance of living. As a result of this disease, both of my legs had to be amputated below the knee, four of my fingers on my left hand and I also lost all hearing in my left ear. Even though my life was greatly impacted by this disease I have so much gratitude towards it and I would say that it is the best thing that has happened to me.
This may sound crazy to most people because how could someone be thankful for almost dying? The reason I am so thankful for this happening to me is because of all the amazing opportunities it has given me. I first got involved in my sport of track and field in grade 9 and from there I had my first pair of running blades made. Ever since my first race I was hooked and knew this could be something I could really excel at, but did not realize that it take me all over the world, competing for my country.
In my grade 12 year I started running a lot faster times and was really improving and developing as an athlete. I made it a goal to make the Canadian team the next year for the para World Championships in Doha, Qatar. I poured my heart and soul into my training and made the team competing in the 100, 200 and 400 at the games. The next year when I entered University I started running for the varsity team and I am the first para athlete that has competed for Western University.
More recently I competed at the 2019 Para Pan Am games as well as the 2019 Para World Championships in Dubai. I’m chasing my next big goal to compete for Canada at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. None of these accomplishments would have been possible if it weren’t for contracting meningitis.
Who knows, maybe I would have never gotten into track and field. Then, I would have never had these opportunities or have met all the other amazing para athletes along the way.
To show my gratitude towards my sport I have been an assistant coach at the high school I attended for the past three years. I know how much I appreciated my coaches there who first got me started so I wanted to do the same for the up and coming athletes. I would love to work with others who have disabilities in the future to show them that you can accomplish anything you want to if you never give up.
Madison Wilson- Walker- Team Canada Para Athletics blade runner and jumper