WAT’S UP – Adam Sawatsky

Separated sisters reunited by Paralympic Games

Linda is loading boxes onto a dolly when we stop to talk to her. We wonder if there’s a story packed away inside one of them. She tells us they aren’t hers, she’s just helping her best friend move. We tell her we’re searching for something happy or hopeful to share at the end of our newscast. Linda starts thinking back on her own life and tells us about the night she’ll never forget.

Linda was looking after her two-year-old sister at the time, when the whites of the toddler’s eyes turned suddenly red.

“The ambulance took her away,” she recalls. “But I didn’t know she was gone forever.  I never (saw) her again after that.” And her family never spoke about what happened. She later learned her sister had eye cancer.

It inspired Linda to volunteer with blind people. She applied to be a ‘tapper’, the person who tells blind swimmers when to turn in the pool or end of a race. That’s where she was introduced to Yvette, the woman she’s helping move. Yvette was a Paralympic swimmer for 16 years. She attended four Games, where she won 17 medals for Canada, including seven gold.

Linda starts crying as Yvette reveals the highlights of her athletic career. “I’m so proud of her. We’ve always been very close.” But Yvette has unhappy memories too. Long before she was a world-class swimmer, she was taken away from her biological parents and lost her eye sight. “It was pretty traumatic,” she says.

When Linda first heard that story about the swimmer she was tapping for, she was in shock.

“I said, ‘that’s my sister!’ I thought she had died. That’s why she never came back home. It hurt not seeing her for all those years.”

Yvette didn’t know either. “My foster parents never told me about my siblings, where they lived, my parent’s names. Nothing.”

I ask Yvette how meeting her sister compares to winning a gold medal. “They are both tremendous events,” she says. “It’s awesome. Nothing like it!”

Although Linda and Yvette never got a chance to start making good memories as siblings, since they’ve reunited they’ve never stopped piling-up good experiences as best friends.

Adam Sawatsky is an Anchor-Reporter at CTV News Vancouver Island.

 

Just Posted

UVic art display showcases craft of bookmaking

Art of the Book 2018 is in the Audain Gallery at UVic from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting Aug. 11

Celebrate local food with Feast of Fields in North Saanich

21st Feast of Fields on Vancouver Island is at Kildara Farms on Aug. 26 from 1 to 4 p.m.

RIFFLANDIA: Local artists thrive under festival model

Bands like Current Swell, one of the 2018 headliners, made their mark at RAP

Baseball’s HarbourCats wind up WCL season with loss to Pickles

Victoria needed a win to make the league playoffs, now looks ahead to 2019

Cannabis lounge idea to be floated at Victoria council meeting

Coun. Ben Isitt wants to explore smoking area options for marijuana users after legalization

VIDEO: Huge crowd celebrates Sunfest opening night with Canyon, Pritchett in Lake Cowichan

Plenty to enjoy as Sunfest Country Music Festival opened, and lots of folks came out to do so

REVIEW: Ever wanted to be young again? Theatre Skam’s Concord Floral will make you think again

Strong acting in an interesting theatre space, writes Sheila Martindale

Brad Pitt says he has given Jolie Pitt millions since split

Actor Brad Pitt denies Angelina Jolie Pitt’s claim that he has paid no meaningful child support.

WINE LOVERS UNITE: Victoria festival offers numerous tasting options

Parkside Hotel and Spa hosting Victoria International Wine Festival

Farquhar Auditorium updates image for 40th season

The Farquhar at UVic ushers in new season Sept. 22

THEATRE SKAM: Young cast brings Concord Floral to life in vacant downtown retail space

Former office supply store a unique venue for telling mysterious tale of youth with secrets

Schedule released for world junior hockey championship in B.C.

Vancouver and Victoria ready to host, as Canada conducts training camp in Kamloops

Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy visits Prospect Lake

Power To Be annual fundraiser event brings in big personalities

Bard Across the Bridge brings ‘The Tempest’ seaside

Stage set for classic Shakespeare tale in Saxe Point Park this week

Most Read