Dec 2018 Western Advocate

Reshia Winfield is 12 years old and hearing impaired, but that hasn’t stopped her excelling in a range of sports. The MacKillop College student’s most recent success came at a national club martial arts championship where she place first in weapons and second in Kata. Reshia was diagnosed with moderate hearing impairment when she was three months old. She received a cochlear implant when she was three but soon after developed a staph infection which nearly killed her. She received another cochlear implant when she was four and she wears a hearing aid in her other ear. Reshia was also diagnosed with Large Vascular Aqueduct Syndrome and doctors told her mother, Peta Winfield, that Reshia’s balance would always be a struggle.

Reshia Winfield

Reshia Winfield, 12, with some of her trophies from a recent martial arts club championship weekend

So Peta got Reshia into Gymbaroo two days a week as a child and since then she has gone on to participate in – and succeed in – archery, dancing and martial arts. “It was really important to me not to wrap her in cotton wool. She was main schooled, we never treated her any differently,” Peta said. In addition to martial arts success, Reshia boasts an impressive medal haul in archery and dancing. She has competed in the state indoor archery championships and, in dance, has placed in jazz, ballet and acrobatics. “I just like to try and do my best,” she said.

But Reshia said it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. She recalled one time when she was performing on stage she lost her balance and fell over. Another time on stage the battery in her hearing aid went flat. “You could see her physically counting the steps out on the stage, but on both occasions she just got up and kept going,” Peta said. “We’re incredibly proud of her because no matter what she just keeps going, she always gives it her best.” 

Reshia WinfieldReshia Winfield (Year 7) recently competed in Kata, the traditional form of Karate and obtained 3rd place in this competition; she now qualifies for the Australian Titles in Sydney.

Reshia said she loves all of her sporting activities because they help her develop and maintain balance. She trains six hours a week for karate, three to four hours a week for archery and four hours for dance. When she’s older, Reshia wants to be a fashion designer or an  audiologist.

“I want to be the first audiologist with a cochlear and a hearing aid,” she said. She said she has an interest in helping others, especially those with hearing difficulties, to achieve what they want to be in life.

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