CAN Fund #150Women has reached a new milestone in making the path female athletes to the Olympic games a little bit easier for female athletes.
Paralympic swimming athlete Shelby Newkirk says hasn’t been easy to be an athlete for many reasons, but a key one is funding.
Breaking into the national level of sport involves more costs for specialized gear and travel to competitions.
“I was having to pay for a lot of stuff and it got really overwhelming really quickly,” said Newkirk.
The Paralympian has travelled all over the world and only some of that has been fully covered.
According to 2020 Paralympic cycling bronze medalist, Keely Shaw, funding is an even larger concern for competitors with disabilities.
“I was in dire need of a new road bike and with my disability I need different adaptations on my bike. So I can’t just go buy any bike off the rack and ride it as is,” said Shaw.
Newkirk and Shaw are two of 500 female athletes who have received funding through CAN Fund #150Women to help pursue their Olympic dreams.
The company encourages women to support other female athletes across the country.
Anyone who signs up to be a part of the CAN Fund #150Women group donates a minimum of $150.
From there, the donor finds out which athlete benefits and can follow that competitor’s athletic journey.
CAN Fund #150Women has only been around for only four years, but has raised over $3 million for female athletes across the country.
“In 2017, Ice Dancer and two-time Olympian Piper Gilles, became the first-ever CAN Fund #150Women recipient. So, it was only fitting that Piper be the one to surprise snowboarder Megan Farrell with the exciting news she is the 500th female athlete to be funded by CAN Fund #150Women,” said CAN Fund #150Women Director of Operations and retired rowing Olympic gold medalist, Susanne Wereley in a press release.
The organization has awarded funds to 96 per cent of female Canadian athletes currently at the Olympics in Beijing.
“Support those female athletes. Nobody has gotten to where they are today without somebody supporting them in some way and this is really an opportunity to be that person for another,” said Wereley.
Newkirk and Shaw said being recipients helped them in their Olympic journey more than they can say.
“I’m always excited to get to see other women join this movement and support other women,” said Newkirk.
While Shaw said, “To know that you’ve got other women behind you cheering you on and paying their success forward, sometimes that’s the last little bit of motivation you need just to get out the door on a hard day.”
Each athlete who is accepted for funding receives $6,000.
Newkirk finished fourth in the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, and is looking to make the push in the 2024 Paralympic games in Paris to medal, and be on the podium.
Shaw, who had also finished fourth in the women’s road race in 2020 is looking to take it a step further in Paris and get a medal. Finishing with bronze around her neck in women’s pursuit, Shaw also hopes to upgrade her hardware, and to chase a world record.