February 10, 2016 - 9:00 PM
'IT WAS THE CHANCE OF A LIFETIME'
KAMLOOPS - A local woman, unable to walk on her own due to a chronic pain, has crossed another item off her bucket list.
A fan of the Blazers for 30 years, Tamra McLeod always dreamed of skating with the team, but never pursued it due to health complications. On Monday afternoon, Feb. 8, the 52-year-old finally made it out on the ice to skate with the local Western Hockey League team.
McLeod has a muscle disorder called Fibromyalgia and finds it difficult and painful to be physical, and as result relies on a powered chair or a walker, if she’s having a good day, to get around.
As she feels her dexterity and physical abilities decrease, she decided it was time to get on the ice and fulfill her dream.
“I’ve never been able to skate,” she says. “Being on the skates (Monday), I just tightened right up. I’m not complaining though because it was the chance of a lifetime.“
She was able to take to the ice with the help of some Blazers and a local sports shop. When a manager of Dolson’s Source for Sports in Aberdeen heard McLeod’s opportunity, she lent McLeod skates for the week.
“It turned out that the manager has had multiple medical problems, so she understood where I was coming from,” McLeod says. “With this bucket list people are just helping me out left, right and centre, which is dumbfounding to me because I’ve never really had experiences like that outside the family.”
The Blazers are particularly important to her — she’s been around the team for decades. She doesn’t have any kids of her own, so the team are her kids in a way, she says.
“That’s the way I feel about the Blazers, I’m older than their moms now,” she says. “This is my last year of hockey though, because I can’t handle the bus ride anymore. I’m the first one on and the last one off. It makes for a long night.”
She came up with her bucket list years ago after leukaemia nearly took her life in 1992. Doctors diagnosed her late and weren’t sure if she was going to make it.
“One doctor told mom and I, he didn’t know why they’re giving me medication, I’m going to die anyways, he couldn’t figure it out,” she says. “We were terrified for the next two days. The nurses and the other doctors all got after him.”
That spurred her to face her fears and do things she might miss out on, despite her muscle disorder.
“It was a mental bucket list. I didn’t know it was called a bucket list," she says. "I was just laying in the hospital thinking ‘Oh all these things I should have done, and could have done if I hadn’t been such a scaredy cat.”
She’s been on disability since she recovered from leukaemia because her muscle disorder and medication has prevented her from working. However, she has worked on her bucket list. A trip to Disneyland was one of the first items knocked off.
“It was fun, it was my fifth year anniversary of being cancer-free. I went on almost every ride I could go on,” she says. “Then after that it was anything I was afraid of doing. And I’ve pretty much done that.”
It’s a varied list, that includes everything from white water river rafting to genealogy work and horseback riding to a hot air balloon ride. One item on the list sticks out though.
“There is one more thing I would really love to do but I don’t think it will happen. I would love to meet Paul Coffey. He’s my favourite NHLer,” she says. “After I got into the Blazers I didn’t know know anything what they're doing. So I watched the NHL on TV and it was usually the Edmonton Oilers.”
To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016