When Faith was only four years old, her father passed from cancer. Faith describes the impact of the loss and how the vast part of her childhood memories don’t include her Dad’s physical presence. The missed opportunities of the role her dad would and should have played in her life growing up is a reality that will often arise when she is not expecting or prepared for it. She has come to know her father’s personality and love through open dialogue with family and friends, and this has allowed Faith to feel his compassionate and loving presence. Faith describes the unique challenge she has faced as she has grown older of guilt feelings that arise from not having her own direct memories of her Dad, yet having grown up feeling his absence in her life so acutely.
Born with bilateral cleft lip and palate necessitating a 20-year course of treatment, Faith has undergone multiple surgeries and therapies throughout her life. Due to the effect of these procedures on her physical appearance, she unfortunately experienced bullying. The emotional impact was heavy, yet it encouraged her to develop inner strength. She knows clearly who she is as a person and is dedicated to moving forward based on that positive foundation.
Faith credits her mother with having made her and her sister feel incredibly loved and for keeping her Dad’s memory very much a part of their lives. Faith has internalized this knowledge and her own health challenges to find resilience within herself, motivating her to live a life based on kindness, appreciation of simple pleasures and meaningful relationships.
Faith has been accepted into the Nursing program at Ontario Tech University and looks forward to serving children going through reconstructive surgery and being able to combine nursing skills with the compassion she has developed due to her unique firsthand experiences.
Rebecca describes herself as having a typical life growing up. She attended her local high school, went to rugby practices and enjoyed a stable family environment. This picturesque image changed instantly when her sister suddenly passed away. Rebecca described herself as experiencing a flood of emotions; feelings of anger, grief and hopelessness which she directed at the world, herself and the adults in her life. She expressed that her life came to a “screeching halt”.
Rebecca took the time she needed to work through her emotions. Eventually this time of self healing and acknowledgement of her loss provided her with renewed motivation. “Suddenly, my goals had personal and emotional reasoning, for every late-night studying and early morning in the gym. I wasn’t doing it for just myself but for those who had their lives cut short and for those who had to suffer a loss like I did.” Rebecca expressed that she eventually learned, with the support of her family and those close to her, to embrace change and use her emotions to nurture her passions and goals. She believes this allows those who have passed to continue to live on as part of your life.
Rebecca, stated “although on paper, I am back to where I was before I lost her…”, she realizes that self-care and tending to her own mental health are important aspects of healing that don’t necessarily appear on the surface.
Rebecca will be studying Biopharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Ottawa in September. She will also be playing for the University varsity women’s rugby team. Rebecca eventually plans on entering the field of pharmaceutical research to help create life-saving drugs. Her goals also include representing Canada internationally in rugby.