Blyth Academy Ottawa student Anya Swettenham won The Spirit of the Capital Personal Courage award after being nominated by Blyth Guidance Counsellor, Clare Glassco.
Spirit of the Capital Youth posted Anya’s courageous story:
“This experience has shaped my outlook on life dramatically, I have chosen a more positive outlook.”
When Anya learned that the breathlessness she had been experiencing was more than just asthma she was devastated. With a diagnosis of life-threatening pulmonary hypertension her life quickly shifted from one of soccer games, violin lessons and swimming to oxygen tanks, a lost year of school and avoiding daily physical exertion of any kind. During her year away from school Anya became keenly aware of her surroundings and current events, she developed an interest in human rights and social justice. As she returned to school, Anya threw herself into both her studies and her passion for social change with energy and enthusiasm. While juggling constant appointments at CHEO and both the symptoms of her disease and the side-effects of its treatment, Anya still manages to arrive at school everyday filled with optimism and an impressive determination to break down boundaries not only in her life, but also to look at ways to break them down for others as well.
Anya also single-handedly organized the Harmony House Drive that Blyth Academy Ottawa students participated in over the last week.
Anya attached a letter about the drive to 100 blue bags with Blyth logos on them, and she and several classmates dropped them off at 100 houses nearby. The letter talked about Harmony House (a local battered women’s shelter) and the items that they needed. It informed residents that Blyth students would come by at a certain time to pick up the bags if they left them with their donations on their front porches. An amazing number of our neighbours did just that…thanks to Anya!
Needless to say, we are very proud of Anya and all of her accomplishments. We are so lucky to have such amazing students at Blyth Academy!