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The Sport Information Resource Centre

Canadian Sport Institute Calgary

In a moment of deep sadness and despair, Brad Spence found himself crying in his car parked at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.  He was overcome by the heartache and tragedy of childhood cancer, and how it was slowly taking the life of his new friend, 17-year old Gillian O’Blenes.

Months previously, in 2013, a friend – a nurse at the Alberta Children’s hospital – had asked if Spence would visit O’Blenes, who was in treatment for osteosarcoma, and share his story of overcoming the odds to eventually race at the Olympics in alpine skiing.

(Spence had sustained a catastrophic knee injury just before the 2006 Games, at age 20, that sidelined him for over two years, but he made it back to the highest level despite a few doctors telling him he should never ski again. He ultimately raced at two Olympic Games.)

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Canadian Sport Institute Calgary: @csicalgary
Written by Kristina Groves: @kngrover
Photo Courtesy of: Brad Spence