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Sarah

My name is Sarah Bradshaw. One of the many things I do within the Canadian Hemophilia Society is to co-author the Youth File column in Hemophilia Today. I was born with von Willebrand disease, although it wasn't known until I ran into some problems at the age of twelve. All I knew was that there was a history of bleeding disorders in my family but not that I could be affected. I was soon taking many trips to the Hospital for Sick Children in downtown Toronto for lots of tests I'd never heard of with dozens of doctors I'd never met. Soon enough everything was sorted out and I was introduced to the great people within the Toronto and Central Ontario Region (TCOR) and the CHS.

I went on my first Hemophilia Ontario Youth (HOY) canoe trip that summer. It was there that I met some very memorable people I'm sure will be lifelong friends. For a few years I continued to go on the canoe and winter trips. Then we started talking about forming an Ontario Youth Committee. It has all taken off since then. From the formation of one committee, we have grown to put together a National Youth Committee. We have all also brought home our learnings to help out with youth programming in our own areas on our local Boards of Directors.

Life was moving along amazingly. Then, as Murphy's Law has it, if something can go wrong… and well, something did. As I grew up in a hockey family, being diagnosed with von Willebrand disease wasn't going to end my hockey career after ten years of playing. I had a scholarship and career ready and waiting for me. The problem was that I had always had overly flexible and loose joints, though this had never proven to be a big problem, at least in my mind not a career-ending problem. In December of 2006, doctors tried to drain my knee, which resulted in the worst verdict you could hear: “The time has come for surgery.” Not only minor surgery, but total reconstructive, bone and muscle (i.e. career ending) surgery. It was a very tough change to adapt to, but one that would be worth it in the long run.

In April of 2007 I had my knee surgery. Although I will never be able to play hockey at the level I did in the past, I will return one day to the rink. I've found more time now to do things I didn't have the time to do before, especially with the CHS. I co-chair our National Youth Committee, which I would never have been able to accomplish if I had continued on my hockey path. This experience was something that taught me to really believe that everything does happen for a reason and, no matter how it may appear at first, something good will always come out of it.

If you have the time to get out there and take part in a youth event in your community, then don't sit and contemplate it, go for it! It's a great opportunity to meet new people and to try things you may never be able to do anywhere else. Keep reading the Youth File column in Hemophilia Today to learn about what else is happening in your area and be sure to check out our Web site for even more details. If you are interested in becoming involved at a higher level, or have any questions, feel free to e-mail any of us and we will do our best to help you

- Summer 2007