“I had a pulmonary embolism, which is like a blood clot in your lung. It caused me to have four cardiac arrests, so it was pretty scary but aiming to get back on the rugby field really helped me to get through it,” Raycroft said.
While Raycroft is well on her way to a full recovery now, her love for rugby helped motivate her during some of the toughest moments she faced in hospital.
Her medical team was even astounded by the fierce determination she showed while fighting to regain her strength.
“The doctors were like, ‘she’s so resilient, she must play a really tough sport,’ and I was like, ‘yeah, I play rugby,'” Raycroft said.
When it comes to inspirational rugby role models, Raycroft doesn’t have to look far.
Recently, four women were selected from the Rugby Nova Scotia’s senior women’s Keltics team to represent Canada on the international stage.
Rugby Canada’s senior women’s program is building towards the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and recently played a test series against the United States as part of their preparation and selection process.
Coming away with wins in both games, Team Canada players like Prince Edward Island native Alysha Corrigan are thrilled with the development women’s rugby is experiencing on Canada’s east coast.
“It’s nice to be able to have a couple of the girls you train with go and play and represent Canada,” Corrigan said.
“We put a lot of work in here so it’s definitely an honour to play alongside them and it’s good for the east coast to get represented.”
Raycroft has been watching the successes Corrigan and other Maritime women are having. Which is why she says she was awe-stricken to see Corrigan and fellow senior women’s player, Olivia DeMerchant, pay her a surprise visit at Lockview High School.
As a way to encourage Raycroft on her road to recovery, Corrigan and DeMerchant presented her with a jersey recently worn during the Can-Am test series.
“She’s been through a lot and just giving her that little bit of extra motivation — a kind of hope to get her back on that rugby field — is something that we were lucky enough to be able to do,” Corrigan said.
It was a special moment Raycroft won’t soon forget.
“It just builds my love for rugby even more and it just makes me so happy that I’m apart of the rugby community,” she said.