Two years ago, Mount Annan’s Jaide Gayle-Weiling was told her life could be cut short by a sudden spinal condition.
Now the 15-year-old will lace up her skates and represent Australia in the fast-paced world of inline speed skating.
Reaching this level has been a trying task for Jaide who had to endure extensive treatment for her potentially fatal sudden onset idiopathic Scoliosis condition.
After having two 50cm long titanium rods clamped to her spine, Jaide pushed herself through physiotherapy to learn to walk again and plan her return to the skating scene.
“Not skating was hard and even doing the daily things you take for granted like walking up and down stairs, even having a shower was awkward,” the Elderslie High School student said.
“I still wanted to keep doing what I loved – skating. I just wanted to be able to send a message to people that no matter what happens, never let anything get you down and just keep doing what you love to do.”
Jaide put on her speedskates a year later and did the improbable – she became a state and national champion.
She won six gold medals in the state championships last November and was named champion in the 100m, 500m and 3000m Australian Inline Speed Championships in January.
The biggest reward of all, Jaide earned selection into the Australian team for the Oceania Speed Championships in Timaru, New Zealand on March 25-29.
Despite the months of training, there was no doubt in Jaides’ mind she would return to the track.
“I knew that I would eventually get the chance to skate but winning the titles and getting the medals was just so unexpected,” she said.
“It makes me feel proud to know what I have accomplished since then and to find a way to keep doing what I love so much.”
Her father John said the family was overcome with emotion when they saw her skate again.
“To see her being able to skate again was amazing – It literally brought tears to our eyes,” he said.
“Jaide is an amazingly tough girl - it’s satisfying as a parent to see your children achieve things that at times seemed almost impossible.”
The Weiling family praised the medical staff, Skate NSW and others including First National Real Estate Harrington Park owner Michael Alexander who have helped Jaide along her journey.
Jaide’s next challenge is to raise $5000 to fund her participation in the Oceania competition.