Pamela Le Jean
My name is Pamela LeJean. I was born on a small island called Cape Breton in Northern Nova Scotia. I was an elementary, junior high and high school athlete and very close to my family. In my senior year of high school I was hurt in a car accident and was told I would never walk again. That sucked. But I learned to drive again, I graduated from high school with my friends, on time, with honours and went on to do the same in University. I started a grown-up life, I moved a few hours away to Halifax on my own, did motivation talks at schools, got a great dog. But I couldn't find that thing... that mystery thing that gave me passion that sport used to give me in my "walkin' days" as an adolescent. Before I really realized it, I'd been searching for ten years, fruitlessly! The realization came when a child from a classroom I was talking to asked, outright "What do you do now that you like as much?". I thought, "I gotta shake this kid! He's onto me! Lie, bitch! Lie!". Kids aren't stupid and I didn't fool that one. Who knows how many I thought I'd fooled in the past. All of em, I guess. I still don't remember what I said to that kid, but the truth was much worse. It was nothing. I did nothing I liked as much as I used to. Not one thing. Tv. Maybe? Kind of sad. "Ya know, that DVR is keen!" Ugh. Fix this! So my mission was pretty clear. I thought I was too high of an injury to play sports, my balance is terrible! It's like sitting on a basketball. But after that, I HAD to try! I went to a wheelchair basketball game and asked the coach if I could come by and get involved. I played and practiced hard for a year, and it was the best year of my life! Until this year happened.
I wasn't able to keep training for basketball without activating previous shoulder injuries through pushing. It was a constant battle. My personal trainer, noticing my rather impressive wingspan and everyday struggle suggested we go into the gymnasium and throw some indoor discus, and it was an immediate game-changer. I love basketball, but switched to throwing and haven't looked back! It was a necessary step.
I've never trained this hard or have been so dedicated and focussed in my entire life. Realizing that I am able to compete in a sport I love after thinking I couldn't for so long after my injury is like being given another second chance at my life! It's like when you think you've lost your favorite shirt but you find it again after searching for forever. But it's about a million times better than that feeling.
After training a few short months, I'd gone to training camps in Edmonton and Florida, won two silver medals at Desert Challenge in Arizona (my first international meet), competed across our great country, winning third place and cash at Ottawa's Boiling Point competition and two gold medals at Canadian Nationals. I was then asked to be on Team Canada and travel to France for the International Paralympic Committee's Track and Field World Championships, winning a bronze medal. After a week home from Lyon, France, I joined Team Nova Scotia in the Canada Summer Games in Quebec. There, I won a gold medal in shot-put and a silver in discus! I also hold the Canadian Records in javelin and discus and the Continental Record in Shot-put.
This feeling is so good! I love pushing myself and trying to be the best I can be! I want to win a gold medal for my country at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Brazil, among other goals in the nearer future.
After a few weeks off, I'm back training six times per week with my coach between Halifax and Annapolis Valley an hour and a half from here. I'm so glad I have this opportunity to train everyday! Thinking I'd never be able to train or feel the satisfaction of competition and Victory again was really scary. Having to rely on memories to fill the spot that sport used to actively rattle and hum inside was not a reality I was willing to accept. Now that I've got this life back, I plan to take it as far as I possibly can!