What’s the good news, 2020? Young Shuswap wheelchair athlete spreads message of hope

The Salmon Arm Observer looks back at some of the year’s positive stories

As 2020 draws to a close, the Salmon Arm Observer is looking back at some of the stories that reflect the positive work, activities and accomplishments that occurred throughout this challenging year.

A Shuswap teenager who uses a wheelchair to participate in several different sports saw success in both competition and in spreading the message of hope to her peers.

Lily Brook, 15, has been using a wheelchair to play basketball, box and ski since September 2019.

While she is still able to walk, a joint disorder she was diagnosed with three years ago affects both her ankles and has left her feet with limited movement.

Not letting this slow her down, Brook travelled from Salmon Arm to the 2020 BC Games held in Fort St. John, Feb. 20 to 23, with the Zone 2 Thompson/Okanagan Wheelchair basketball team placing sixth in the province.

Read more: Salmon Arm’s Bulldogs Boxing Club gets new name, diversifies class offerings

Read more: Vernon boxing club caters to Parkinson’s patients

Lily Brook takes a shot during a wheelchair basketball game. (Contributed)

Lily Brook takes a shot during a wheelchair basketball game. (Contributed)

Things didn’t always seem so bright for Lily, knowing her diagnosis would mean she would no longer be able to play the sports she grew up with was difficult.

Luckily, Lily’s boxing instructor, Peggy Maerz at Salmon Arm’s Bulldogs Boxing, introduced her to the world of wheelchair sports last summer.

“Her goals and my goals are one and the same, we’d like to see wheelchair boxing in the Paralympics and more of a mainstream sport,” Maerz said.

“I see her being an absolute poster-child for it.”

Lily Brook readies herself for a round in the ring at Salmon Arm’s Bulldogs Boxing gym. (Contributed)

Lily Brook readies herself for a round in the ring at Salmon Arm’s Bulldogs Boxing gym. (Contributed)

Read more: Fighting for charity with local boxing club

Read more: Wheelchair boxing demo prompts jab at national movement

The confidence imbued in Lily also give way to her foray into public speaking at local schools.

Lily offers students words of encouragement and inspiration for those who may face similar experiences.

“Even if it may seem hard at first, I know for me it was very difficult. I found things that helped me.” Lily said.

“Even if something happens, whether it’s a disability or just something hard that you’re going through, you’ll be okay.”


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