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CBM Head of Finance & Accounting in South Africa at the Nedbank National Championships for physically disabled in South Africa, April 2014

07-04-2014
Catherine with CBM colleagues, family and trainers
© CBM
Catherine with CBM colleagues, family and trainers

The 1st of April 2014 was the day, it had come so fast that at times it felt like I was in a dream. Here I am standing on the side of the pool of the Nedbank National Championships for physically disabled. There are people with various disabilities all with one focus, sport and having a dream to pursue something better than just having a disability and giving up on life.

My Journey by Catherine van Staden

Catherine with the Western Province Team ©CBM
Catherine with the Western Province Team
It was October 2013 and I was at my first Swimming Gala. At the age of 33 you would think I have been there before, well no! This was a specific gala for People with Disabilities. I was here to swim, what I didn’t realise was that I was about to get picked for the Western Province Disabled Swimming Team in South Africa. I swam my 800 meters in record time and was told “you’re on the team!”.

The next thing I know the 30th March 2014 had arrived, and I am standing outside the City Hall in Stellenbosch representing the Western Province Disable swimming team. We are here for the opening ceremony of the Nedbank National Championships for physically disabled. There are people with various disabilities all with one focus: sport, and having a dream to pursue something better than just having a disability and giving up on life.

A wonderfull experience

Catherine in the water swimming the 800m ©CBM
Catherine in the water swimming the 800m
I would be swimming in the 800 meter freestyle and the 50 meter freestyle. The 1st of April 2014 was the day, it had come so fast that at times it felt like I was in a dream. Here I am standing on the side of the pool about to dive in and swim 800 meters, my cheering CBM Southern Africa fans, my cheering nieces, my cheering team mates, the rain and here we go. It was a great swim 20  minutes later I was done, not my best time but  my 50 meter I swam a few hours later I got my best time yet, 51 seconds. When you swim seconds means everything. This was definitely an experience to carry me to many other more swims for Western Province.
Catherine (left) with her aponent ©CBM
Catherine (left) with her aponent
Having a disability has taught me many things, one main thing is that it’s not the end of my life, in fact it is the start of a very different journey I would never have imagined.
[Catherine van Staden is the Head of Finance and Accounting for CBM in South Africa]


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