23 June 2014

Spitfire vs Army Charity Cup

Two big and important things happened on Friday June 20. First, I participated and supported a charity event and secondly, during that charity event I registered as a bone marrow donor. This a culmination of a few events: several months ago Rob, a member of Spitfire TKD, was diagnosed with Leukemia. It was shortly after he was given the go ahead to start his basic training for the Army.

I've had to face people with cancer before but this was the first time I've had to face it outside of work, outside of a hospital, and outside of me being a nurse. I like to think of myself as a compassionate person so after being a nurse to the terminal cancer patients in Stettler and seeing Rob come to training following his chemo was no less emotional. The story of a 40-something year old woman, wife, and mother to a 13 and 18 year old dying one week after diagnosis is no more or less tragic than that of a 19 year old being diagnosed because both lives are changed and everybody around them is affected.

I bring up the 40-something old woman alongside Rob because they are similar. I don't remember anything about this woman, except her story, her positivity, and her gratitude: She knew she was dying but she was so grateful to have had the chance to get married and have children and work and learn and just do the things she has done. I had left the hospital room close to tears.

When I first heard of Rob's diagnosis I couldn't remember what he looked like and in all honesty, I didn't really know who Rob was. I tended to only attend Friday night sparring classes of Spitfire and not everybody could or wanted to make it to those (I get it, when you're 18 you spend your Friday night's vastly different). But I've come to know Rob just a little over the last few months and his perseverance and determination not to let leukemia stop him from enjoying life is astounding. Not only does he show up for training, but he hardly takes a break, and I've never heard him say anything negative when I've spoken to him.

(c) Kenga Photography
And Rob? That day it was hot and humid during training and you got frustrated you were taking a lot of breaks and couldn't keep up? Just know we were pushing ourselves because your presence invalidated any excuse we had.

Rob & Mark
(c) Kenga Photography

Our Spitfire TKD instructor/coach Mark has been the driving force behind setting up the Spitfire vs Army Charity Cup. Between him and Colin, the British Army ITF coach, ten matches were lined up for the night for people to watch as they bought raffle tickets, baked goods, and registered with the Anthony Nolan Trust, a charity that helps register bone marrow donors in the UK. Rob needs a bone marrow transplant and three matches have been found on mainland Europe but with the event the register has been expanded by over 50 people, myself included. Maybe we can find a donor a bit closer to home.

Oh yeah, we also raised 1300 pounds that night towards an iPad library for the Royal Surrey Cancer Ward.

This isn't the first time I've participated in a charity event. The first time was three years ago in Medicine Hat where Clifford, my brother Daniel, Mirando, and I raised money for a 5k Kidney Run. Clifford was so fast around the course that they didn't believe he ran around the whole track (he is actually that fast). The second charity event Clifford and I were part of was when we hosted a Movember Party complete with a raffle and raised $300.

But this is the first time I've participated in a charity that really meant something to me, where I felt part of a team, like an adopted family, and where I felt so disappointed that I couldn't do more.

Myself & Charley messing around before our match.
I was playing for Team Army.
(c) Vero de la Rosa
One of the few snap shots where I look good! Charley won the match 20-11.
We showed everybody what a chick fight looks like.
(c) Vero de la Rosa
Kat Paes coaching me
(c) Vero de la Rosa
Red v Blue! Mark, Ryan, Charley, Myself, Ahmad, and Kat
(c) Kenga Photography
Still friends! Though I'm left with a scratch on my face...
(c) Kenga Photography
Clifford also part of the team!
(c) Vero de la Rosa

To see more photos of the evening check out Kenga Photography's FB Page. Please also check out the FB pages of Ryan Powell, Levi Goodridge, Kat Paes, and Charley Rousell and show some support as they chase their Olympic goals.


  1. This is a great post and reminder to me that I want to sign up as a stem cell and marrow donor here in Canada (http://www.onematch.ca)

    1. I never did get around to doing this in Canada and thanks for putting it up. The Anthony Nolan Trust connects with other bone marrow registers to help find matches.

  2. Great post, Christiana. I've participated in a few charity events; they've always pulled at my heartstrings when I've been at them with a survivor.