Heroes in Our Midst

Season 1

Ep. 37 - Season Recap with Ace Burpee

Join Michelle and Adrienne as they re-cap Season 1 with Ace Burpee. The tables get turned and Ace Burpee helps them reflect on where they started, what they learned and what impacted them most from listening to these amazing heroes.

April 22, 2021

Ep. 36 - Michelle Sawatzky

Michelle is 5’6”, from Steinbach, a small city in rural Manitoba, and has a degree in Piano Performance from the University of Manitoba School of Music. Knowing only this one may assume that this musical “short girl” who was “not…

March 29, 2021

Ep. 35 - Shannon Kehler

Like many, Shannon does not think of herself as a hero. In her words, “If I can be a hero to you, I am happy, but do I think I am a hero? No.” Before Shannon walked through Steinbach Regional…

March 22, 2021

Ep. 34 - Nadya Crossman-Serb

“Be proud of who you are, don’t feel like you have to assimilate into one way of being, just be yourself and learn as much as you can about your culture as you can.” Nadya is a 23-year-old Métis/Libyan sprint…

March 15, 2021

Ep. 33 - Kylo Harris

There is a piece of Kylo’s soul that belongs to Canada’s North. He grew up in Goose Bay, then a fly-in/fly-out community in Labrador, and spent the early years of his sport career in Nunavut. He tells us that three…

March 8, 2021

Ep. 32 - Leisha Strachan

Leisha Strachan knows a lot about excellence. A talented athlete, she competed at the World Championships in Baton for the first time at age 13. She finished her competitive career with consecutive bronze medals at worlds in the pairs event.…

March 1, 2021

Ep. 31 - Jocelyne Laroque

If we would simply list Jocelyne Laroque’s accomplishments, you’d probably agree that she’s a hero. But accomplishment alone is not what we’re looking for in our “heroes.” We want to know their story from the inside out, and Jocelyne’s got…

February 22, 2021

Ep. 30 - Jayme Menzies

Jayme Menzies is proud of her Metis heritage. She loves her family and enjoys speaking of her parents’ unconditional support throughout her entire life journey. She played 5 years of post-secondary volleyball at the University of Winnipeg; she is presently…

February 15, 2021

Ep. 29 - Donna Harris

Donna is a prairie girl who grew up in small towns in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. An RCMP kid, her family moved several times through elementary school and middle school. In addition to always feeling like the “new” kid, she was…

February 8, 2021

Ep. 28 - Dallas Ludwick

Dallas’ favorite quote is, “Be yourself. It’s the only way to be excellent at anything and to be a value to anyone else.” Without question, Dallas knows who she is, and she leans into her values as she tackles tough…

February 1, 2021

Ep. 27 - Leah Kirchmann

After over 15 years at the sport of cycling and ten years racing professionally, Leah is still very much in love with the sport saying, “I love that the freedom you get from riding a bicycle. I’m free to go…

January 25, 2021

Ep. 26 - Hector Vergara

Hector has been offered positions all over the world, Miami, Costa Rica, and Mexico to name a few. He remains in Winnipeg as his kids won’t even move to a bigger home in another part of Winnipeg, let alone leave…

January 18, 2021

Ep. 25 - Dave Blatz

Every hero has a support crew behind them, an often-invisible team that enables them to be great. Dave Blatz is no exception. Dave is an athletic therapist. In 2018 he was working with Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes (Beach Volleyball)…

January 11, 2021

Ep. 24 - Derek Ingram

Derek Ingram never dreamed he would be a coach, but when he found himself coaching the people he was competing against he realized that perhaps coaching people in golf was best done when he was not also playing against them.…

January 4, 2021

Ep. 23 - Alex Gardiner

Alex Gardiner never planned to coach. His career started in a Winnipeg middle school hallway when a group of students approached him and said, “Mr. Gardiner, can you coach our track and field team?” Alex’s response was, “What do I…

December 28, 2020

Ep. 22 - Adrienne Leslie-Toogood

Adrienne knows that life is the one true sport that calls on all that we have and all that we are. When she works with someone, she sees it as her job to help them be whole and healthy and…

December 21, 2020

Ep. 21 - Rhiannon Leier Blacher

Inspired by the 1984 Olympics, Rhiannon started swimming at a club in Saskatoon at age seven. Her career would go on to span 27 years and include two Olympic Games and several national team appearances. But it almost did not…

December 14, 2020

Ep. 20 - Elliot Gray

Many of us are aware of what the term transgender means, but we really don’t understand it. Elliot Gray gets that, he notes, “I totally understand people who don’t understand how being transgender could work or how your mind could…

December 7, 2020

Ep. 19 - Chris Voth

When asked what advice he would provide to the world, Chris says, “Be yourself and be genuine. If you’re pretending to be someone, you’re not, it’s going to impact you. And it’s going to make things not as enjoyable. Also,…

November 30, 2020

Ep. 18 - Emily Potter

Emily Potter has always been very competitive, some might say ultra-competitive. Whether we are talking about basketball, sack racing (an event at summer family fun days growing up) or ringette net minding (in her early years), Emily loves to compete…

November 23, 2020

Ep. 17 - Leanne Taylor

Everyday activities sometimes change our lives. Leanne Taylor had a day like that in 2018. She and her boyfriend went for a mountain bike ride at trails they rode all the time. During the ride Leanne fell off her bike,…

November 16, 2020

Ep. 16 - Chantal Givens

Chantal Givens is a Paralympian. She has one hand. Throughout her childhood Chantal’s parents treated her like a regular kid. She was encouraged to, and she liked to try all kinds of things as she was growing up. Her first…

November 9, 2020

Ep. 15 - Colin Mathieson

Inspired by the athletes competing in the wheelchair racing section of the Manitoba Marathon when he was six years old, Colin got hooked on wheelchair racing at a young age. Born with Spina Bifida, a wheelchair was Colin’s primary mode…

November 1, 2020

Ep. 14 - Bill Johnson

You may be surprised to learn that most elite coaches never plan on coaching. They get pulled into the profession by accident, through a serendipitous event or by happenstance. Bill Johnson was pulled into coaching wheelchair basketball because he played…

October 26, 2020

Ep. 13 - Cal Botterill

When asked about what it is like to work with national teams, professional athletes and emergency room physicians, Cal will tell you that, “the stuff is the same, but the people are all different.” Adrienne will tell you one thing…

October 19, 2020

Ep. 12 - Tim McIsaac

When he was little and attending preschool and kindergarten Tim figured he was just like the other kids that he played with on his street; he’d even pick up books and pretend to read them figuring he couldn’t read them…

October 13, 2020

Ep. 11 - Joanne Vergara

“Go hard or go home” was Joanne’s mantra when she competed. It is safe to say it worked. At 16 she won three medals at her first Paralympics (a gold, a silver, and a bronze). Four years later she upped…

October 5, 2020

Ep. 10 - Jared Funk

“It doesn’t matter where you are or who you are, you can make anything happen. It doesn’t matter what the limitations, whether it be you’re living in a rural area, or you have disability. They’re all just barriers that you…

September 28, 2020

Ep. 9 - Joey Johnson

Joey Johnson has played wheelchair basketball for Canada at the Paralympic Games five times and has 3 gold medals and 1 silver from those competitions. For 20 years he competed at the highest level and was in love with the…

September 20, 2020

Ep. 8 - Vlastic Cerny

Vlastimil (Vlastic) Cerny has represented two countries in international swimming. Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic) and Canada. However, in grade three he was also identified as a talented hockey player through the extensive Czechoslovakia athlete search program, but he had…

September 14, 2020

Ep. 7 - Kelsey Wog

“She who has a large enough why can bear any how” is Kelsey’s favorite quote. The “how” that carries Kelsey into the future will likely look quite different than what she expected a few months ago, but given her commitment…

September 7, 2020

Ep. 6 - Master Jae Park

Master Jae Park is the third generation of his family to be involved with Taekwondo. His father is a Grandmaster, he achieved his black belt at age 6, he coaches his daughter Skylar who has qualified for the Olympic Games…

August 31, 2020

Ep. 5 - Skylar Park

Skylar Park prefers to land hits to the head. A hit to the head gives you more points in a Taekwondo fight than a hit to other parts of the body. Funny thing though, she doesn’t see a hit to…

August 24, 2020

Ep. 4 - Leah Ferguson

“I had a very tough practice in 2017 getting ready for the senior nationals and I remember running the sprints and doing the overload . . . and then laying on the mat in complete stillness, in my mind and…

August 17, 2020

Ep. 3 - Justin Duff

Justin Duff played volleyball for Canada, but he did not get there without being cut and spending time on the bench. He was cut from his JV volleyball team (he had never played before), he was cut from the Team…

August 10, 2020

Ep. 2 - Janine Stephens

Janine planned on playing basketball at the University of Manitoba, but a chance meeting at a Karate class in the summer of 2000 changed all that when someone suggested she try rowing. After a rough few days that included a…

July 21, 2020

Ep. 1 - Chantal Van Landeghem

Chantal Van Landeghem was in the pool before she could walk. Her Dad would take her and her sister to the pool to play and just spend time in the water. That early introduction fostered Chantal’s love of the water…

July 20, 2020