Sandra May Hunt was born on May 23rd, 1964 to Marie and Vern Hunt of Waubamik. Sandra grew up the second youngest in a family of four, including older brother John and sister Donna, and younger sister Jennifer who unfortunately passed away at the tender age of seven months.
Sandra spent her early years growing up in Waubamik with her siblings, travelling each morning to Humphrey and then McDougall Public Schools until she graduated grade seven. This was the start of Sandra’s interest in sports, and it was here that she discovered that she really loved sports and had a talent for competing. At Mcdougall School she immersed herself in floor hockey, baseball and track and field. Normally a quiet person, there wasn’t a sport that she wouldn’t try and more often than not, you could find Sandra standing front and centre, proud to be an athlete.
Transitioning to Parry Sound High School was made easier with her talent for sports. Here she proved herself again by competing in track and field and adding basketball, volleyball and badminton to her list of sports. Sandra also had the honour of being one of the first students to graduate high school in 1982 with a perfect attendance award and was presented with a crest during her graduation ceremony. To this day, Sandra still loves to tell everyone this story.
After graduating high school, Sandra stayed home to assist her Mom and Dad and it wasn’t until she turned twenty-one in 1985 that she decided to move to Parry Sound and start out on her own. With the support of Community Living Parry Sound (CLPS), Sandra found a place to live and work. It was at CLPS that Sandra rediscovered her love of sports. She immersed herself in any sport that came her way, starting with softball, bowling and track and field in the summer and adding snowshoeing in the winter. It was during her first time on snowshoes that Sandra found the power of what it felt like to actually ‘belong’ to a sport.
Sandra competed in all the sports she played, travelling wherever the games were held from Huntsville, Manitoulin Island and Quebec City, to name just a few, all the while gathering first and second place ribbons and gold, bronze and silver medals. Sandra proudly displays her trophies in her home, adorning her walls and shelves. Shy and normally reserved, Sandra comes out of her shell and shines when she is participating in her sports. In addition to the medals and ribbons Sandra brings home are the friendships that she makes during competition, all who continue to challenge her and cheer her on. Sandra can be seen each spring and summer playing competitive softball at the YMCA field, using her father’s mitt and preparing for regional games in Manitoulin Island.
In February of 2008 Sandra qualified to compete at the International Level in Boise, Idaho for the 2009 Special Olympics International Winter Games. Winning two gold medals and a silver in snowshoeing at the National Games in Quebec City qualified Sandra for the Canadian Team. This meant that Sandra would endure extensive training over the next year, working out at the local YMCA with a personal trainer and attending pre-training clinics in Toronto and Winnipeg. Sandra prepared herself for her biggest challenge yet. Equipped with her aluminum snowshoes and her Special Olympics team uniform, Sandra headed to Boise, Idaho for the week of February 7th to 13th, 2009. There Sandra was successful in bringing home a bronze medal in the 4-X-100 meter relay and placed fourth in the snowshoeing 100 and 200 meter events.
During the off season when Sandra is not training or competing, you will find her at numerous fundraising events for Special Olympics around Parry Sound. Sandra comes alive speaking of her accomplishments to any who come by to admire her medals and ribbons. It’s not uncommon to see Sandra in all of her medals signing autographs at Wal-Mart and most recently at Staples.
Family and friends play an important role in Sandra’s life, they are there to cheer her on and keep her focused. She treasures the times spent with them and the friends that she has made around the country, many of whom still keep in touch.
Being an athlete for more than thirty-six years and competing on a national and international level, Sandra will continue to amaze us with her athletic ability and her love of the game.