Salmon Arm Secondary grad Maggie Manning is the recipient of a prestigious Terry Fox Humanitarian Award. Despite her many accomplishments, Manning believes there’s nowhere to go but up. It is a philosophy that has spurred the young athlete to accomplish her goals of being the best she can be and making the world a better place. (Photo contributed)

Salmon Arm student gets national recognition

Maggie Manning receives prestigious Terry Fox Humanitarian scholarship

Can’t do is not in Maggie Manning’s vocabulary.

Despite being born with no hips and undergoing 10 operations to build and re-position them, Manning believes she can do anything, even if it’s not the way others do things.

Not only does the 18-year-old athlete graduate from Salmon Arm Secondary this week, she does so with several scholarships.

Among them is a prestigious Terry Fox Humanitarian Award, which is open to students of all abilities and will provide $7,000 a year over four years and identify Manning as a Terry Fox Scholar.

As well as being in good academic standing, applicants must be involved in voluntary humanitarian activities and be in or entering a post-secondary institution.

Manning, who is spending the summer working as a lifeguard at a Bible camp on the Sunshine Coast, is entering a biomedical studies program with a view to earning a BA in Health Sciences at UNBC in Prince George – to start.

“I really want to go into the pediatric health-care system, but I don’t know if I want to be a doctor or a nurse,” says Manning, whose many surgeries at Vancouver’s Children’s Hospital have posed sometimes lengthy recoveries. “I was born without a ball or socket so the bones would just grind together and slip into different places. One surgery actually took two years’ recovery because I had to adapt, relearning to walk, something most people take for granted, and some have had complications.”

Related: 2014 – Swimmer eyes national time

But from the time she was a little child in a body cast being ferried around her neighbourhood in a little red wagon, Manning and her parents, Frank and Salle Manning, have viewed obstacles as simply a challenge to overcome.

“They made sure I could do everything every other kid could do, maybe not the same way as others, but definitely doing it,” says the spunky teen, noting she has had to be resilient and not be confined or defined by her limitations. “I wouldn’t be who I am without having been through these hardships.”

Manning’s mom says she and her husband are proud of their daughter, whose attitude, despite the many obstacles, has always been, “Why not me?”

An avid athlete, Manning has participated in ringette, soccer, cross-country running and basketball. Forced to give up those sports, Manning took up swimming five years ago and went to Toronto in October 2017 and Montreal this April to train with the Canadian NextGen national paralympic swimming team.

“Five years ago, I went from being a late starter and super new to the sport to making provincial times in three months, then another three months I made nationals. In July 2013, I made international standard,” she says with the passion of someone who is doing something they love. “I just keep working with the goal of getting on the paralympic team for 2024.”

Manning, who does not use her legs when she swims, says her best event is the 400-metre freestyle.

As much effort as she puts into her sports and academic life, Manning has the energy and will to give back to her community.

She was on the committee which oversees leadership across School District #83 and raises funds for charities, primarily the Me to We program.

Manning is also passionate about mentorship.

“My biggest goal is to create a world that is more inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities, both visually, physically and cognitively,” she says, explaining that people with disabilities are society’s biggest minority and that people deserve support for whatever they’re going through.

Manning says it’s not only necessary to make sure buildings are accessible to people with disabilities. Equally important is the need to get them involved in the greater community, something she does through sport.

Manning applied for the Terry Fox scholarship earlier in the year and, in late April, received a call to appear two days later for an interview in Vancouver.

“I was super excited. I thought the interview went well, but they told me I had to wait a month (for the results),” she says. “I didn’t expect to get it because it is such a prestigious award.”

The young athlete is equally proud of the five other scholarships that will help her reach her post-secondary goals: the District Authority Dogwood for Physical Education, North Okanagan Shuswap Teachers Association scholarship, one from Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union (SASCU), the Masonic Lodge of B.C. bursary and the Order of the Eastern Star bursary.

“I’m just looking forward to whatever life brings,” she says, even though her future includes another surgery in October.

Determined to head right back to school, Manning is excited by the prospect of swimming with the Prince George Barracudas.

“I hope to continue getting better,” she says, noting that through sheer will and determination, she plans to better not only herself, but the world as well.


@SalmonArm
barbbrouwer@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chilliwack on the map for Salmon Arm Roots and Blues

Canadian music legends confirmed for 28th annual music festival

CSRD green light’s Blind Bay cannabis store, provincial approval required

Public survey shows 55 per cent in favour, 42 per cent opposed to proposed outlet

Driver of speedboat in fatal Shuswap Lake houseboat collision denied parole

Court says Leon Reinbrecht unwilling to accept culpability for “reckless, thrill-seeking behaviour”

Mould mitigation at Sicamous elementary school near complete

School District #83 superintendent says health concerns have been resolved

Snowy softball in Sicamous

The 2020 snowpitch tournament took place at Finlayson Park on Jan. 18 and 19.

VIDEO: Soldiers trade rifles for snow shovels to help dig out St. John’s

A state of emergency is set to extend into a fifth day

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

North Okanagan woman pleas for return of stolen scooter

‘It’s been another kick in the teeth… how do you get ahead and keep your head above water?’

Police search for owner of another icy sailboat on Okanagan Lake

The frozen vessel was spotted near the 800 block of Manhattan Drive in Kelowna

Volunteer spends hundreds of hours restoring piece of railway history

Revelstoke Railway Museum now home to an authentic Kalamazzo No. 2 Section Handcar

Future of Penticton francophone school secured following funding announcement

$11.5M in funding means École Entre-lacs now independently owned and operated

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

City of Vernon to redirect reclaimed water into Okanagan Lake

MacKay Reservoir nears capacity; city to reflow water into lake near Kin Beach

Most Read