WEEK #19: TIFFANY GAUDETTE
Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a 33-year-old who grew up in Saint John, New Brunswick in a single parent household. At 16 I moved to Mississauga, Ontario and I currently reside there as well. I was never one to be involved in sports, but here I find myself involved on many different levels since I acquired my spinal cord injury and was diagnosed with Adhesive Arachnoiditis. My competitive sport of choice is athletics in F56 seated Shot Put, seated Discus, and seated javelin, at a national level and I am Internationally ranked. My noncompetitive sport of choice is Para Ice Hockey (aka sledge hockey), but I have competed in Wheelchair Basketball, and wheelchair racing. I am also the Director of Boccia and Multi-Sports for Cruisers Sports for the Physically Disabled, coach Boccia, run one of our two Multi-Sports programs as well as an Ambassador for Parasport Ontario.
Please share a story about an internal or external barrier you have faced.
As a child growing up I had many obstacles to overcome such as being bullied, making it through school with “severe” learning disorders, losing a parent, living in rough neighborhoods, and moving homes and schools several times.
Despite all life threw at me I was able to finish my high school senior year and college with honors. Shortly after landing my dream job as a Child and Youth Worker in a residential treatment center, I was in a car accident that changed my life forever. The accident began two years of severe back pain that later led to a disc rupturing in my spinal cord causing me to acquire an incomplete spinal cord injury leaving me with paralysis from the waist down. I spent 6 months between hospital and rehab with a total of 3 spinal surgeries. Despite severe pain, I fought for two years to learn to walk again, unassisted, in hope of returning to work again.