Inspiring in strides
Published Wednesday, June 8, 2011 3:03PM MDT
A speed skater who took life's challenges and turned them into an opportunity is CTV's inspiring Albertan of the week.
Calgary's Olympic Oval has given speed skaters in the city a place to learn and grow to become some of the country's elite.
Crystal Phillips is one of those skaters.
She was on the fast track to becoming a pro speed skater, until tragedy struck.
One morning, about six years ago, Phillips woke up paralyzed from the waist down.
After numerous tests, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
Not wanting to let the disease stop her from skating, Phillips fought back.
"I sort of just accepted it and looked at it as just a challenge I could turn into more of an opportunity to make a difference, and you know, see this new path in my life to see where it will take me," she says.
Following her diagnosis, Phillips looked into a controversial liberation treatment in India, but was told she was not a prime candidate.
Instead, she turned to natural nutrition and herbal medicine.
Right now the progression of Phillips' MS is being kept at bay, and she trains year-round.
She aims to get onto the national team, and skate as a member of Canada's long-track speed skating team in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Phillips is also determined to find better treatments for those with MS. She has set up a charity called the Branch Out Neurological Foundation.
"We're actually going to fund a lot of research that's in the alternative health healing world, and a lot of natural nutrition," Phillips says.
John Reid, Branch Out Board Member, is inspired by Phillips determination.
"To see her accomplish so much with the obstacles she's had, there's no other word for it, it's just really inspiring," he says.
For her persistence to achieve her dream, and positive attitude, this speed skater is CTV's inspiring Albertan of the week.