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Fearless Cassidy January 20, 2015 3:00 AM - Variety – the Children’s Charity International

TORONTO – Next summer, if life were fair, Cassidy Sheng would swim for Canada at the Toronto Parapan Am Games.

“That’s her dream,” says best friend and Variety Village teammate Megan Sherwin.

If only life were fair.

Which brings me to a bright, shiny room at Emily’s House, a hospice for children near Broadview and Gerrard.

The Santa Claus Parade marches by in the distance, but we’re not feeling very Christmasy in Cassidy’s room.

A few hours ago, doctors told her there’s nothing more they can do. The cancer that took her left leg when she was seven, that returned to claim part of her lung last spring, then attacked her spine, is not done with her yet.

“They say it will continue to grow,” Cassidy tells me, “slowly I guess, and I’ll keep getting weaker until I’m paralyzed, until…”

If life were fair, no 14-year-old hears such news.

But I don’t want to dwell on that. This is not meant to be a sad story, though the ending inevitably will be.

This is meant to be the celebratory story of a little girl, all of eight when she rolled her wheelchair onto the pool deck at Variety Village, of her striving to find her way in this two-legged world, and of her quest for gold.

“The coach just threw me into the deep end,” says Cassidy, grinning through pain in her hospice bed. Tubes in one arm dull the howls of the cancer hounds. A pink teddy bear nestles in the other.

“It was sink or swim,” says Cassidy. “I swam.”

Did she ever.

When Cassidy swam butterfly at meets, people stopped and stared. Water transformed that meek little princess in the wheelchair into a powerhouse on the Flames, Variety Village’s fabled swim team.

“Swimming really is my passion. It has got me through everything in my life,” says Cassidy. “It gives me confidence. It gives me strength.”

Continue reading the article at the Toronto Sun.

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