#KidsTakeover: My Journey
November 2020 | By: Megan Sherwin
Growing up even though I had a disability that didn’t stop my parents from signing me up for a ton of sports and activities. In grade one, I first tried cross country running. I thought I wouldn’t be as fast as the other kids, but I kept running. That year I made it all the way to my school district’s city finals! The following year, I tried house league hockey. I knew that this sport was going to be challenging because holding the stick with a big, bulky hockey glove on would be really hard for my left hand. So, my dad and I found a way to conquer that challenge. He cut a hole in the middle of my glove so I could put my hand through it and hold on to the stick. I thought people would ask why there was a hole in my glove, but they didn't. They understood that I just needed to modify things to be able to play the game.
Over the next couple of years, I tried out different sports at school and in the community such as soccer and basketball. However, it wasn’t until I was nine years when I found my passion for competitive swimming. I was taking swimming lessons and my swim instructor saw how much I loved being in the water and recommended I tryout for the Variety Village Flames Swim Team. The Flames Swim Team is an integrated team that welcomes both able-bodied and para swimmers. Joining the team was one of the best decisions I ever made! I was a part of a team that embraced me for me. I was able to be 100% myself. The team allowed me to meet some of my lifelong best friends. I was able to grow as a person, become independent and understand who I am and who I wanted to be in an environment that I felt safe in.
I’ve been lucky enough to compete at the provincial, national and international levels for swimming. In the Summer of 2018, I competed at the Cerebral Palsy Word Games in Spain and won one gold and two silver medals. Swimming and especially, swimming at a competitive level, has given me the confidence to know I can do whatever I want and that’s probably why I don’t think of myself as having cerebral palsy or a disability.
I don’t think I would be where I am or who I am today without all the opportunities I received from the sport and recreational services available in my community. Through these experiences I’ve realized that one of my drives and passion is to show everyone that people like me can do anything that we want to do, all we need is an opportunity to show you.
Megan Sherwin is a third-year Recreation and Sport Business student at the University of Waterloo. She is originally from Toronto. Megan has cerebral palsy caused by a stroke before she was born leaving the left side of her body weaker and less flexible than her right side.
This is Megan's second year as a member and co-chair of the KidsAbility Youth Advisory Council (KAYAC) in Waterloo.