Oakville Female Sledge Hockey Player needs our help: Letter to the Editor

Sledge Hockey
Oakville Female Sledge Hockey Player needs our help: Letter to the Editor
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Nolan A Machan

Nolan A Machan

Nolan Machan is the Publisher of OakvilleNews.Org and has over 41 years of local Oakville knowledge. He is committed to providing Oakville residents with the most up-to-date information about our great town.

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Female Sledge Hockey Player, Joanne Evans needs our help. She has had great challenges, and now has a great opportunity.

This year I had the pleasure of meeting Joanne Evans. Joanne is well known in the Oakville ladies’ hockey community. She has been playing ladies hockey in Oakville for over 15 years at Canlan Ice Sports and 16 Mile Sports Complex. Joanne’s incredible story must be shared. She is an inspiration to all: a fighter, a Wonder women.

In 2007, while playing goalie she fell ill. Not really sure what was wrong, she found herself in Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital fighting for her life. She was diagnosed with “Encephalitis”, a sudden onset of inflammation of the brain.  Encephalitis symptoms include:

  1. seizures,
  2. convulsions,
  3. hallucinations,
  4. strokes,
  5. memory loss,
  6. headache,
  7. fever,
  8. confusion,
  9. drowsiness,and
  10. fatigue,

Unfortunately, her life came to a full stop. For Joanne, Encephalitis caused severe memory loss, cognitive loss, mobility issues and required the use of a wheel chair. Joanne had lost the ability to do everything we do every day and likely take for granted.

Sledge Hockey

Oakville’s Joanne Evans in net.

During her struggle to get healthy again, she had to learn how to walk, regain her memory, relearn such simple tasks as: using a computer and learning how to talk. During her recovery, Joanne’s one desire was to get back out on the ice. After 6 long months in the OTMH, rehab that turned from months to years combined with her pure determination has given her the opportunity to play hockey again.

With the help of her friends and teammates, she would arrive at the rink in a wheel chair dressed and ready to go. Joanne found the strength and the courage to get back in net. Patiently, she regained her strength and ability to hold her own again in net.

Today with the help of a cane, Joanne walks into the arena. She is grateful for all the help and support she continues to receive from her teammates.

While playing net this past month, a teammate – three time Olympian,Sami Jo Small was impressed by Joanne’s goalie skills, and noticed she required a cane. Sami Jo asked Joanne if she had ever played Sledge Hockey. Joanne said “no”. Little did Joanne know, but three days later she was invited to try out for the “Canadian National Women’s Sledge Hockey Team”. Honoured and on a high, she felt so grateful for this opportunity.

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There was one problem. Joanne’s regular goalie hockey equipment does not work for Sledge Hockey. Luckily for Joanne, Sami Jo’s husband Billy Bridges (four time Para Olympic Gold medalist for the Canadian Men’s Sledge hockey team) arranged to lend her equipment. Joanne’s excellent goalie skills continued to impress the coaches and players. She has been invited back to participate in the upcoming camps. What an incredible and priceless experience Joanne has been given.

Joanne is 57 years old, single, a mother of 3 and grandmother to 1. Her life has not been easy, unfortunately with her sickness and disability, she has been unable to work and is now on government assistance which doesn’t allow for her to be able to buy extras such as Sledge Hockey equipment and participation fees.

In order to participate means Joanne requires a specially designed Sledge, modified skates, modified hockey pads and stick. All this equipment costs in the range of $2000.00 plus. In addition, in order to attend team camps she would have to pay minimum of $150.

As I mentioned before, Joanne is an inspiration, and I am honoured to be friends with her. With a little help from all her friends, family,fellow hockey players and the community, let’s raise the money so that she can represent our Country “Canada” and community in Sledge Hockey.

Go Joanne Go !

By Monika Trueman

A recent update from Joanne: “I have been asked to play for the Women’s Ontario team which is a huge honour. I am continuing to work as hard as I can to achieve my goal to play on the NATIONAL TEAM.”

If you would like to help Joanne reach her goal of playing Sledge Hockey you can donate to her GOFUNDME campaign: Jo’s quest 4 National Sledge team

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