For five years Melanie lived in China, studying and performing Kung Fu from 4:50 am to 10:00 pm each day. After being back in Canada for only eight short months, one Sunday evening she experienced a severe headache and numbness in her hands. The next day she was unable to walk. Her dad carried her into emergency where she was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

Her condition rapidly declined requiring her to be placed on a ventilator. She was unable to move her body, yet was fully conscious. Melanie felt completely trapped. Her lifeline became a spelling board to communicate with family and drawing mental strength from the intrinsic values Kung Fu training had instilled in her. The first time she moved her hand she was so excited, yet no other part of her face or body could express her feelings, so she celebrated inside herself. A poignant milestone was when she sat up for the first time. Melanie felt so weak and was frightened to fall, yet began to trust her therapists through the realization that there would be a team helping her each and every small step towards her recovery. She accepted guidance from her therapists and patiently tackled one milestone at a time, sitting, then standing, then walking. Her advice to those who may come to lead rehabilitation journey is found in the wisdom of Bruce Lee: “If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

“Melanie embodies the best of these words – gracious, courageous, hardworking and kind. She takes these qualities and blends them into her competitive and driven spirit while always remaining genuine and true to her recovery potential, her journey and the journey of those around her. Melanie, we are inspired and very excited to see you honoured today.” Catherine, Andrew, Sally, Pamela & Team