Leora Shipley (right) with sons Nathan

Transforming from a mother to a warrior

South Surrey woman to participate in Easter Seals event for her sons

Leora Shipley knows a thing or two about warriors.

Her eldest son, Nathan, was born with severe spastic quadriplegia, limiting the use of his legs and his arms. Despite his disability, the 18-year-old has battled through everything from daily struggles, such as feeding himself breakfast, to a number of major surgeries.

Then there’s Shipley, herself.

With her husband, Peter, the 44-year-old South Surrey mom has worked hard to create a better quality of life for Nathan and his eight-year-old brother, Jason.

“That’s just life. I’ve kind of been a warrior for 18 years for (Nathan), advocating for him and supporting him, taking care of him when he’s recovering from major surgeries. And it’s been rough,” she said.

“I think every person, when they become a parent, gets a little more fierce. It’s like protecting your babies. Nobody messes with your kid. But when you have a kid who has a disability, and quite a significant one like Nathan does, it’s just that extra bit of fighting and battling.”

That inner strength will be the driving force for Shipley next week, when she is set to participate in the Woman 2 Warrior charity obstacle and adventure race, covering five kilometers of trails, track and grass around Burnaby Central Park and Swangard Stadium Sept. 21.

The course will feature 12 different obstacles to test strength, agility, balance and the participants’ sense of adventure.

“They haven’t even told us what the obstacles are,” Shipley laughed.

Shipley’s interest in the race was first piqued in the summer after reading an email from the camp at Easter Seals – which Nathan has been attending since his early teens. Despite her admitted lack of exercise for the past few years, Shipley began to consider taking on the challenge.

“I felt that my son faces everyday challenges, like huge challenges, that most of us don’t have any idea about. Eating breakfast is a challenge for him every morning. Just holding a spoon and feeding himself is a very big thing,” she said.

“He’s had lots of surgeries. In fact, he has another surgery coming up on the 25th, right after the event. And I just thought, we’ve never accepted from him when he tells us ‘I can’t do that, it’s too hard.’”

When both her sons heard about her idea, the duo encouraged Shipley to sign up and start training.

“I couldn’t really say I can’t do it, and that it’s really challenging. That probably wouldn’t fly too well.”

Funds from the race will help send youth with disabilities to Easter Seals camps in B.C.

For Shipley, there couldn’t have been a better cause to raise funds for. The entire family, she said, is grateful for the opportunities provided through the camps for Nathan.

And Jason participated in the Easter Seals 24-Hour Relay for the kids this year, raising $600 in two weeks.

“It really has been the one thing that has made such an impact on (Nathan’s) life – and his quality of life. It’s something that he looks forward to all year long. Every kid who goes to Easter Seals camp feels the same way, I would think,” she said. “Because it has been so, so beneficial to him I’m doing it.”

And, after 18 years of placing her personal needs on the back burner, Shipley said she has been enjoying taking some time to get healthy.

Using apps and online resources, Shipley said she is trying to push herself a little each day in order to prepare for the big race.

“(The kids) kind of pushed me into it. But you know, I was up for it. I was ready for a challenge. We all needed challenges in our lives, even if you’ve been lucky to never have been challenged by life’s circumstances.

“That’s what helps you grow as a person.”

For more information on the race, visit www.woman2warrior.ca

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

UPDATE: Pedestrian dies after being hit by bus in uptown White Rock

Collision occurred July 3 at North Bluff Road and Johnston Road

PHOTOS: South Surrey tractor project evokes ‘$1-million smile,’ helps connect neighbours

Retired Surrey firefighter Ron Henze began project for friend’s dad to fill time during pandemic

Intent of killing at centre of Surrey man’s West Kelowna murder trial

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Allison Beames is anticipated to return with her decision in August

Surrey man facing charges related to child pornography

Elazar Reshef, 52, has worked in the Delta School District

COVID-19: Update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

JULY 3: Pandemic project evokes smiles, connects neighbours

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Greater Vancouver home sales start to tick up, with prices holding steady

Residential sales last month reached 2,443, a 64.5 per cent jump from May

Langley Lodge’s deadly outbreak declared over

Fraser Health and long-term care home administrator confirm Friday declaration

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

Search continues for person seen floating in Coquihalla River in Hope

Rescuers halted the search Thursday night as darkness fell

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

Most Read

l -->