Kady Dandeneau would give up an arm or a leg if it meant she could continue playing the sport she loves.
Even as her health deteriorated in her final two seasons with the UNBC Timberwolves, the Pender Island product never quit, eventually leading to a B.C. Colleges Collegiate Athletics Association (BCCAA) Championship and establishing herself as one of the most memorable athletes in Prince George sports history.
Today, the 29-year-old is celebrating new accomplishments on the international stage as part of Canada’s national wheelchair basketball team, who, as of yesterday evening (Aug. 28), qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympics.
Dandeneau scored eight points and eight rebounds as the Canadians rolled past Brazil 61-40 in the semi-finals of the 2019 ParaPanAm Games in Peru to reach the gold medal game, which is scheduled for tonight (Aug. 30) against the United States.
“It is an honour to get to represent Canada,” she said in a UNBC Athletics release. “You couldn’t really ask for more as an athlete. These are the opportunities you dream about. It is surreal to get to be a part of this. I feel really lucky to represent my country doing what I love. I don’t think it gets much better than that.”
Altogether, the former T-Wolf has 51 points at the games, which is acting as the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic qualifier for athletes from North, Central, and South America.
Dandeneau became a wheelchair basketball player after several intense surgeries on a torn ACL, damaged MCL, and a fractured femur she sustained in UNBC’s 2010 season.
According to UNBC, she was driving towards the hoop when she, unfortunately, collided with a defender and hurt her knee.
She was deemed healthy enough to return for her final two years on UNBC’s court, which included a BCCAA title in 2012 under head coach, now Athletics Director, Loralyn Murdoch.
“Kady has a passion for all things basketball including training to win and winning,” Murdoch explained. “I have so much respect for her to have accomplished what she did in stand up [...] I’m not surprised she’s wearing the maple leaf on her chest and representing Canada. This is her dream and she really does accomplish whatever she puts her mind to.”
Former Team Canada coach Tim Frick inspired Dandeneau to consider wheelchair basketball and she’s been part of the national squad since 2015.
In the UNBC record books, she currently sits in the top 10 in six different women’s basketball categories, including three in the top five:
- Third = 12.8 ppg in BCCAA
- Fourth = 321 rebounds in BCCAA
- Fifth = 983 all-time points
- Sixth = 12.1 all-time points-per-game
- Seventh = 408 all-time rebounds
- 10th = 147 all-time assists
The following list is Dandeneau’s collegiate accomplishments:
- 2008 = UNBC Rookie of the Year, BCCAA All-Rookie Team, BCCAA Championship
- 2009 = BCCAA Provincial Tournament All-Star
- 2010 = BCCAA Second Team All-Star
- 2012 = BCCAA Championship, CCAA Nationals Second-Team All-Star
The Tokyo 2020 Summer Paralympics will begin in less than a year from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6.