“Still fit to fight.”
That’s the motto Kimberly Fawcett-Smith has taken as she gears up to run for the Conservatives in the Oct. 21 federal election against high-profile Liberal cabinet minister Bill Blair in the riding of Scarborough Southwest.
And fighting is nothing new for the former Canadian Air Force officer who was preparing for deployment to Afghanistan in 2006 when she lost her son, baby Keiran, and a leg in a vehicle accident.
On May 30, she retired from the Canadian Forces to run against Blair — a former Toronto Police chief — to make “meaningful changes.”
“I want to run because I have the leadership, experience and the training to handle myself,” she said. “I don’t think the riding has had good leadership.”
When she returned to duty after her accident, she became the first woman to serve in Afghanistan with a prosthetic leg.
She loves her riding as it is home to Variety Village, a perfect place for the medal-winning para-triathlete to train.
But she said too many people in the riding lack access to proper transit to get to such places.
“Transportation is huge and too many don’t have access to LTR or bus service. We need to do more to help business. We have been left out of the conversation and there is a lack of vision,” Fawcett-Smith said.
“Veterans also hold a place in my heart. I want to be a role model to mend any holes in the current process.”
Shortly before her accident on Hwy. 401, her husband, Maj. Curtis Smith, was given just days’ notice that he was being sent to serve in Africa and Fawcett-Smith’s deployment to Afghanistan was to follow shortly.
She had been given permission to take advantage of the military’s family care plan and was taking her baby to her in-laws when the crash happened.
After four months in hospital, more months in rehabilitation and almost two dozen surgeries, Fawcett-Smith decided to “take the steps (her son) never got to take.”
The problem was the military produced prosthetic limbs designed for men and they didn’t work for her, Fawcett-Smith said.
She found a prosthetic manufacturer that specialized in making limbs for women, but the military decided not to cover the specialized costs, leaving Fawcett-Smith with a $30,000 bill.
Her case is now before the Supreme Court of Canada.
Story appeared in the September 2 edition of the Toronto Sun and was written by Kevin Connorfirstname.lastname@example.org