Cecilia returns to roller derby after stroke, miscarriage

GETTING BACK: Cecilia Mair is recovering from a stroke she suffered in 2011.
GETTING BACK: Cecilia Mair is recovering from a stroke she suffered in 2011. Che Chapman

WHEN a stroke floored Cecilia Mair in 2011, she was determined to get better to pursue her sporting interests and be the best mum possible to the baby she was expecting.

Cecilia, aka "Dee Dee Dainja", has reconnected with Coastal Assassins, the roller derby team she helped found, and has an almost two-year-old son, Nixon, who is the light of her life.

But getting to this point has not been easy.

Cecilia lost the baby she was carrying with the stroke in November, 2011.

She had been bleeding at 19 weeks and at 21 weeks, went into pre-term labour.

She and her husband were married, as scheduled, three weeks later.

"It was pretty full-on," she said. "I'd just got out of rehab, and then I had the worst and the best day of my life.

"It was really overwhelming, but probably really good to have the wedding, to have something positive happen."

Seven months later, Cecilia found she was pregnant.

Nixon's middle name is Zephyr, the name of the baby who would have been his older brother.

Cecilia, who is still plagued by a weakness on her right side from the stroke, needed help to pick up and nurse Nixon when he was a baby.

But over time, he has learned to help her hold him by gripping her with his legs.

"I didn't realise until I went to pick up someone else's child that he actually helps me," she said.

Cecilia put other commitments on hold to concentrate on Nixon when he was born.

"I stopped rehab and roller derby when I became a mum. I loved it. I could spend all day just staring at him."

After about 12 months, she reconnected with the Coastal Assassins and took on the president's role, although she does not skate as yet.

"It was a good time for roller derby to come back into my life, and for me to be around my roller derby friends again," she said.

"There's some people you only see at training and you miss them. It's such a community."

She has also resumed an exercise program and is training twice a week to rebuild her strength.

Skating is not on the horizon at the moment, but after some impressive performances on a rowing machine, she is considering taking up rowing as a sport, with a view to competing at the 2020 Paralympics.

"For me, I need a different goal," she said.

"I think a lot of stroke patients, when they get a certain time past recovery, they think no more improvement is going to be made so they stop doing things.

"They need to think outside the square a bit and do something different."

Having to watch roller derby from the sidelines has not been easy, but she has appreciated the opportunity to remain involved.

"It's a sport that I really saw myself getting further into. I loved getting out there, training, getting better with everyone else.

"It makes me more determined to find something else so that I've got that to work towards.

"It keeps me motivated."

Watch the Coastal Assassins in action at the Caloundra Indoor Stadium, North St, Caloundra, on August 15. Doors open at 4pm. B grade at 4.30pm, A grade at 6.15pm. Tickets $13.

Topics:  children editors picks roller derby stroke

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