Young Salmon Arm medal bearer inspires


Source: Salmon Arm Observer


Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay participant Hannah Baskill transfers the relay medal to teacher Nora Kennett. Lynda Hooper

Hannah Baskill’s smile was as bright as her daffodil-coloured team jacket, as she arrived to the point of medal transfer at King’s Christian School. Teacher and special-needs champion Nora Kennett was the medal bearer in waiting for the third leg in the relay. After Hannah transferred the relay medal to Kennett, they exchanged a complex special handshake. I’m thinking they had this one rehearsed – looked like fun.
Heroes are people in the neighbourhood who stand out in a crowd because they are doers who inspire us; they walk the talk toward a better world.

I met a number of such individuals at the 25th Anniversary of the Rick Hansen Man in Motion World Tour on April 4, but there was one in particular who held my attention, Hannah, the youngest of the medal bearers.
Hannah is eight years old and a resident at the Blind Bay Resort, where she lives with her parents and 14-year-old brother – the apple-of-her-eye.

Hannah suffers with a very rare presentation of pulmonary hypertension called idiopathic, or primary (PPH). She has surpassed the prognosed life expectancy given in April 2009, in spite of having 30 cardiac arrests that she should also not have survived.

Last May, she had a pacemaker installed, and had a most critical three months recovering sufficiently to sit up and walk again. She started a new subcutaneous medication at the same time that, although uncomfortable, has contributed to a very good recovery.

The family has clocked in about seven months of hospital stays over the last 2.5 years between Vancouver and Edmonton, getting to know a lot of kind people.
According to her nurse Lona Heinzig, Hannah has a team of five nurses, who are on scheduled rotation, ensuring around the clock care.

“Her progress has blown away any expectations of her doctors or any healthcare staff who know her,” she says.

Dad Dan Baskill said Hannah is going to school, doing more than anyone thought possible.

“Our whole family is grateful to be here, with Hannah sponsored by schoolmates at King’s Christian School, chosen to represent them in this relay,” he said.

It was a once in a lifetime experience for 29 Shuswap area residents who served as medal bearers when the anniversary relay reached Salmon Arm April 4.

Hannah started her 250-metre portion of the relay at the Okanagan Avenue and 30th St. SE intersection. She walked down the hill with her oxygen in tow, Heinzig hurrying after. Hannah touched as many hands as she could on the way, all to the sound of a cheering crowd.

As the relay headed north on 30th, the crowd along the sidewalk either followed along or dissipated from the corner. Hannah’s family was left – still quite a large group, including grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins big and small.

Such large spirit in a tiny package, Hannah Baskill reminds us all that despite whatever challenges we may encounter, as Rick Hansen says, “anything is possible.”


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