Whitney Kendrick used to live in the northwest Alberta community of Grande Prairie.
One day while driving, the owner of the brand new, $40,000 truck ahead of her tossed garbage out the window.
That was when she knew she needed to leave.
From there Kendrick moved to Kelowna, then fell in love with Revelstoke while commuting back and forth to visit her husband back in Alberta. They moved here in 2006.
Kendrick is an occupational therapist. Not long after moving to Revelstoke, the long-term care wing opened at the Queen Victoria Hospital and they were able to give her a 25 hour a week contract. She also found work with the school district.
“Occupational therapy is about enabling people to do what they want to do,” she said.
Though having played ringette but not hockey, Kendrick joined the ladies hockey team in Revelstoke soon after she moved here.
“She has had a big impact on the atmosphere and supportive history in the women’s hockey program, making it a approachable team to join or to just simply drop in to try it out,” said Stephanie Miller, who also plays on the team.
Miller said she admires Kendrick’s patience, drive and positive attitude.
“If there is something that needs to be taken care of, Whitney is always one of the first to volunteer her time to help,” Miller said.
Though Kendrick now skates for the Revelstoke Derailers, the roller derby team in town, she was hesitant to join at first, saying she didn’t want to get hurt.
However, her perspective on life changed when she lost her four month old daughter Neve.
Neve was breathing too quickly since birth and after bouncing around to different hospitals they were allowed to go home, with doctors saying she was doing well and only needed to grow.
However, a few days later she didn’t wake up from a nap.
Kendrick said after Neve passed away, she spent a lot of time trying to find the meaning in Neve’s life.
“Even though she was always hooked up to 100 tubes and lines and everything, she was always smiling,” Kendrick said.
“She had a light in her eyes, I think she was here to teach us to be present and see what was in front of us.”
Kendrick keeps the memory of her daughter alive, talking to her son about his sister and hiking as a family each year on Neve’s birthday.
“After that I was like why am I holding back and not doing something because of fear,” she said.
Kendrick now sits on the board of directors with the roller derby team. She also volunteers with Special Olympics and recently started a co-ed hockey team in Revelstoke.
“I always have something on the go,” she said, smiling.
*Correction notice, in the print version of this story, we spelled Neve’s name incorreclty as Meve. We apologize for the error.