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Leanne Strachan

One Match Changes a Life – My story began at the age of 5 years old when curiosity got the best of me on an early summer morning.

Our family vehicle was in the driveway with an array of toys that were still inside as purchased from the local fair the night before. I was now very keen to get to the car and collect the toys to enjoy; so off I went.

Never was there a moment that I thought the walk to the car would forever shape and impact my life as it has.

When I entered the vehicle the first thing I saw was a pack of stick matches and I can’t even to this day tell you what toys were in the car. Once I settled into the front seat and I began what became a ritual as I was fascinated by fire and strangely enough it was soothing to my soul. The magnificent colorful flames kept my attention always as a young child and as I found out shortly after – it was not the friend I thought it to be!

I stroked the matches one by one until the match I was holding became too hot and was burning the tip of my finger. When I tried to blow it out and could not, it then dropped onto my polyester nightgown, which immediately went up in flames, as did the front seat.

Terror and horror set in as did the fear, which went through me and being at such a young age was truly terrifying and difficult to overcome.

With third degree burns on the front of my body my life included nightmares, burn baths, dressing changes and one very long painful summer. The medical staff, nurses, doctors and most important my family made the trauma of that experience as manageable as possible given what we were up against. I am forever grateful for the compassion and kindness others had shown me during those 3 painful months while in hospital in Saskatchewan.

My teenage years were most difficult and as each year passed on I became more and more aware that I was different. Name calling and taunting from the boys in my high school was hurtful and it chipped away at my self-confidence. However, I was old enough to understand and young enough to bounce back that I knew if I dedicated my young years to athletics that I just might have a chance. If I could channel my energy in the right direction I felt pretty confident that things just might change for me and once again the future would look bright.

I set out, raised the bar high and made some personal athletic dreams come true. This included being named as the Saskatchewan Female Athlete of the Year at 17 I had early success as a competitive swimmer and then went on as a junior/senior in track and field to become a member of the Canadian Track and Field Team. My greatest achievement was being ranked 2nd in Canada for the 1500 meters with a time of 4:10.09. What a great ride it has been and I would not change a thing.

Over time I learned to embrace my scars as they are a part of me and remind me of my strength and courage that is lies within.

To have experienced all that I did as a young child and to overcome what I have has shown me how to be compassionate towards others and that personal judgment has no place in our lives. Being empowered by ourselves, by our consciousness will allow us all to live more openly, freely and heal within.

If there is one thing I can leave with you through my own personal journey; Remember ALWAYS you are LOVED and at times of darkness find the LIGHT to DREAM!

Search and draw from your inner strength, as it will guide you through some of the darkest moments. Trust the voice within and know the answers will come through you in time. Look for comfort in the things that bring you the GREATEST pleasure. For myself it was and still is today my athletics, which includes swimming and a new focus on golf. Could a Master’s tour for Women just be around the corner?

Now I am an active member of The Future Is Mine and look forward to being connected to this very special community to inspire and be inspired!