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Winnipeg's Sierhuis found love of rowing after childhood cancer diagnosis

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The Canadian Press

The Canadian Press

Lori Ewing

Manitoba's Katie Sierhuis, right, and Leah Miller are shown at the Canada Games in Niagara, Ont., in this Wednesday, August 17, 2022 handout photo. Sierhuis was a promisIng hockey and soccer player before she diagnosed with a rare form of cancer when she was 12. She tried rowing as a fresh start after her recovery.
Katie Sierhuis of Manitoba, Right, the rear and rear mirrors are shown in a handout photo at the Canada Games in Niagara, Ontario, Wednesday, August 17, 2022. Sierhuis said she was a promising hockey and soccer player until she was diagnosed with a rare cancer when she was 12 years old. After her recovery, she ventured into boating as her fresh start. Photo by Dan Labricciosa/The Canadian Press

Katie Sierhuis rowing her race painful We describe the home stretch as: like her feet are on fire.

And she cherishes her heartbreaking moments.

The 20-year-old from Winnipeg, who has competed in three rowing events at this week's Canadian Summer Games, said she'll be in a row after recovering from a rare cancer. started this sport.

She was a talented hockey and soccer player until she was diagnosed with ovarian dysgerminoma at age 12.

"It was definitely crazy that she felt so weak when she couldn't even climb stairs and she couldn't do all the things she took for granted." She said Siurhuis. "So I think it's really special to be able to go out and get in the water and exercise. It makes me appreciate it even more.

Ovarian dysgerminoma accounts for less than 1% of childhood cancers.She experienced weakness, dizziness and joint pain for months before specialists found alarming levels of calcium in a blood test and immediately sent her to the hospital.

Later, doctors discovered a large tumor on her ovary and another tumor the size of a baseball in a lymph node adjacent to her kidney. Several months of chemotherapy followed.

In the spring of 2017, Team Manitoba coach Janine Stevens was recruiting at the high school where Sherhuis' mother, Lori, works. thought rowing might be the ideal sport for Katie and her brother Riley.

This was the fresh start Sierhuis needed, and she was instantly hooked.

“I love the personal growth I see in myself since I started working. It's about doing your best," she said. "Then it's important to balance hard work, but you also need to be calm and keep your rhythm and be graceful.

"When you see the boats go by, it looks so beautiful.

Sierhuis made her Canadian debut in her first season in the sport in 2017.

On Thursday at the Henry Rowing Center, she and Rear Miller finished fourth in the women's pair and qualified for Saturday's finals.Sierhuis also competed in the women's four and eight races, with the finals scheduled for Sunday.

She Also just finished her rookie season at Gonzaga University, she was named "Rookie of the Year" at the WCC Conference Championship, where Zag swept the podium and won every race.

Schielhuis, who was also a top cross-country athlete in high school, said she appreciated her side of the rowing team.

“It's exciting, especially when you can give that extra 5% and know that everyone else is literally in the same boat as you. It's going through and everything hurts, but you're all pushing together," she said. "It's kind of special to be able to work so hard with a group of people that you're with.

"And it was hard, so it's over. After that, I feel a real sense of accomplishment, but it's fun to do.”

Sierhuis majors in human physiology and wants to go to medical school, which specializes in cardiology. Her own experience with hospitals and doctors sparked her interest in medicine.

``I was always a science kid. “I also coach the Winnipeg Boat Club. Interacting with people makes me happy.

Stephens believes earning a spot on the Canadian U23 team is an achievable goal for Sierhuis.

"Even when Katie first started rowing, she could see the determination she had," Stephens said. "But the positive energy she brings to her crew and the motivation she brings to others, the willingness to work hard and the desire to improve, can be seen practically in every boat she paddles."[86] }

Sierhuis' family and friends also founded a foundation called "Katie's Krew," a dragon boat team that raises money for cancer research. Raised over $300,000 in 6 years.

This Canadian Press report was first published on August 17, 2022.

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