Full Speed Ahead for Sochi Olympian!

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Olympian Wears Helmet Designed by Cancer Patient

Gillian O'Blenes (left) Brad Spence (right), Photo by Alpine Canada

Gillian O’Blenes (left) Brad Spence (right), Photo by Alpine Canada

It’s a hot topic so we thought we would offer a fun little story surrounding the 2014 Winter Olympics too. Since we don’t have a resident journalist we utilized research others had compiled already and came across a fun story that has been shared in a few different places about overcoming and persevering. We know the medical field requires a lot of resolve and determination and thought you would enjoy this feel good story too.

All Olympians have their unique story of work, endurance and dedication in order to attain their goal of becoming an Olympian. Brad Spence, Alpine Skier from Canada who will compete in the men’s slalom this year in the Winter Olympics has a unique story that involves himself as well as a 17 year old bone cancer patient. They have empowered and encouraged each other through their mutual friendship and determination.

In 2006 Brad Spence suffered a very serious leg injury just before he was to compete in the Torino Olympics nearly destroying his goals and aspirations to get the GOLD. He was told that he might never ski again, however he was determined to overcome that prognosis. Brad was able to compete in his homeland Olympics four years later in Vancouver and now he is returning to the highest level of competition again this year in Sochi.

Now bring in Gillian O’Blenes a 17 year old dancer who shows excellent promise in advancing to prestigious levels as a dancer. Gillian is working to overcome her prognosis as well and beat bone cancer. Gillian who is undergoing chemotherapy as a treatment for the cancer was introduced to Brad, through one of her nurses at Alberta Children’s Hospital. Gillian is also quite an artist according to Brad. Brad was intrigued by Gillian’s “doodling” and thought how wonderful it would be for the two of them to be linked in his journey to the Olympics. He presented a red helmet to her shortly before Christmas and asked for her to customize a design on it in hopes of wearing it as he competes in the Winter games this year. It only took Gillian 6 hours to produce a beautiful geometric design on the helmet simply by using a couple sharpies.

Brad believed in Gillian just as she believes he will ski fast with the helmet she designed. They have inspired one another and have established a very special friendship based upon the power of courage, determination, and resolve.

Keep striving for whatever the Gold medal in your life is, inspire others and share this story. This weekend you can earn some Silver at Tafford by purchasing 3 or more Tafford Prints or Essentials and we will send you a free silver penlight/stylus combo!


Gillian O’Blenes’ helmet design, Photo by Alpine Canada


Gillian O’Blenes (left) Brad Spence (right), Photo by Alpine Canada


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