To Veronica With Love...
The Canadian Ice X Perience present this season a very touching program. /Credits : Sean McKinnon
The Lower Mainland synchronized skating club is based in Surrey, BC and is home to Ice X Perience, an adult 3 team that is skating the story of Veronica, a skater fighting breast cancer.
Veronica MacIntosh was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer in late April of 2014 at the age of 39. She previously skated with the Whitby Ice Fyre after moving home to Ajax, Ontario with her husband and two children following chemotherapy and radiation treatment in British Columbia. When Veronica became too weak to continue skating, she decided to stay involved by getting her judging certificate, while terminal.
It was not until this skating season that coach Danalee Harrison presented to her adult 3 team, Veronica’s story as a baseline for their program. “Veronica is a personal friend of mine and I felt this was the best way for me to express how I felt about her and what she is going through.” says Harrison.
And so it began. One of the first decisions to make was regarding the music. It was important that the music was going to tell Veronica’s story, so what better than one of Veronica’s favourite songs “The Fight Song”. “The music was chosen from when Veronica used to skate on our open freeskate sessions, she always loved to bring her music.” state's Harrison.
The next decision was one that would make the program come to life - the costuming. Deanna Wright of DressWright was touched by Veronica’s story and was a huge inspiration in the making of the pink dresses.
Coach Danalee says that the team was emotional and touched over this program from the very first day of choreography. The program begins with calming ocean waves to set the tone of the program, followed by the introduction of “The Fight Song”. The music changes to “Stand By You” a song written by Rachel Platten, and throughout the program skaters use arm movements and different elements to express emotion. In the last seconds of the program, the skaters are in one long line and one skater is released, with arms up to the sky this symbolizes the release of Veronica to heaven and letting her know that it is okay to go.
In January of 2017, the British Columbia adult 3 team traveled across the country to Winterfest in Mississauga, Ontario to tell their story on the ice. Harrison said after visiting Veronica last September in Ajax, she never thought in a million years she would make it to Winterfest. The team was overjoyed when Veronica made it to the Ontario competition, Oxygen tank and all. The ladies of the team made a special dog stuffy wearing the matching team dress and presented it to Veronica at the event to show her how they all felt. After the second skate, Veronica made her way down to the dressing room for a touching moment with the team and coach, all involved were on the verge of tears.
Veronica has amazed all her doctors and specialists and of course continue to amaze everyone in the skating community with her bravery, determination and strength. She lives everyday to the fullest, but with a realistic view of what is ahead.
Veronica’s dream is to make it to the 2017 World Synchronized Skating Championships in Colorado Springs in early April to see all the amazing teams from around the world compete on one stage. A tattoo under her scars reads, “I’m the hero of this story”.