Sheryl Sadorski-Gordon with Colin Wallden

Sheryl Sadorski-Gordon with Colin Wallden

Heart of our City: Sheryl Sidorski-Gordon’s warrior spirit, story and video

Survival is a subjective experience determined by how an individual perceives the challenges in their life

Survival is a subjective experience determined by how an  individual perceives the challenges in their life. A person can survive the first day on a job, holidays at the in-laws, a perilous trek through the mountains, or a debilitating disease.

Sheryl Sadorski-Gordon is a survivor. She survived living in remote areas of British Columbia. She survived grad school and received a master’s degree in special education. She survived online dating and found a keeper. She survives the weather in Prince Rupert… and she is surviving cancer.

Raised in Kamloops, Sadorski-Gordon has taught all over rural B.C. She spent years in Lytton then moved to Fort St. James to teach on the Tachie reserve where she found nothing but respect.

“When I worked at Tachie I got a knock on the door and I had two hind quarters and a calf moose, they’re like, ‘here teacher’,” she said breaking into laughter. “I didn’t even know what to do with it.”

Seven years ago Sadorski-Gordon moved to Prince Rupert after meeting her husband, Dave Gordon, online while she was in Tachie. The eight hour travel time between them was too much. Once when she came to visit him she found a job at the school district and moved to the city of rainbows.

In Prince Rupert, she took a scholarship opportunity to specialize as a teacher for students with visual impairments. She studied at the University of British Columbia and then became a learning services teacher, a vice principal at Prince Rupert Middle School and the district vision teacher.

“I was one of the first in UBC to actually go to Washington and do my practicum at the Washington State School for the Blind, which was an awesome experience,” she said.

For now, Sadorski-Gordon is taking leave from work.

In June 2014, she was diagnosed with stage one cervical cancer, which should have been a walk in the park as far as cancers go. She went for surgery to get the tumour removed but the cancer spread and another tumour developed.

“Within about six weeks it grew from five cm to 10 cm — it was the size of a baseball,” she said. She had to leave her family for two months to get a mix of chemo and radiation treatment at a cancer facility in Kelowna.

But three months after returning to Prince Rupert the cancer spread again and moved into stage four. She opted for chemotherapy treatments at the regional hospital so she could stay at home with her family.

“I had a 50-50 chance of slowing down my cancer. It’s not curable but after three sessions of chemo all my tumours are gone — they can’t find them. It was the best case scenario,” she said. She is cautiously optimistic and handles her situation with humour and compassion.

For Christmas, she decided to give experiences to her children instead of material presents. Her son, Jacob, 11, plays goalie and is a massive fan of Carey Price from the Montreal Canadiens. Sadorski-Gordon wrote everyone she could think of: TSN, SportsNet, Don Cherry, the Calgary Flames and the Habs team, requesting for her son to meet with Price at a game.

Her persistence paid off — the Habs wrote her back. When Sadorski-Gordon travelled to Calgary to watch a Flames vs. Habs game she surprised Jacob with a one-on-one meet and greet with Price who handed him a signed goalie stick that is now mounted on his bedroom wall.

“For me and my son, the first time we’ve every been speechless was the day we met Carey Price. It was pretty awesome,” she said.

Now she’s working on fulfilling an experience for her daughter, Emily, nine, who also loves hockey. “I have a lot to live up to this time,” she said with another full body laugh. They’re planning a trip to see the women’s world hockey championship in Kamloops.

Another project Sadorski-Gordon has embraced is her Relay For Life team: “Too Inspired to be Tired: Sheryl’s Warriors”. Last year, there were 22 people on the team and they took the golden baton for raising the most money after Judy Scott, Sadorski-Gordon’s sister-in-law’s mother, donated $7,000.

The relay is held in May but the team is already rounding the troops and has raised $2,300 with an auction fundraiser planned for Feb. 20 at The Crest Hotel. The commitment to the cause this year is even more dedicated. Scott was diagnosed with a rare form of gastric cancer in September and passed away three weeks later.

“We’ve done a lot of fundraising. It was part of our grieving process, my sister-in-law and I. It was just our way of dealing with things,” she said as her voice cracked, letting a few tears loose.

The air of heaviness lifted once Sadorski-Gordon switched her focus on the importance of the Relay For Life. For her the event is not only about raising money for cancer research and supporting families, it also creates camaraderie and she can share her motivation with others. “You cherish every day you’ve got. Life’s short and you spend as much time with your family and friends,” she said.


Just Posted

Visitors to a pop-up temporary aquarium in Prince Rupert will have the chance to see marine ecology from July 21 to Aug. 15, like this viewer watching sea anemones at the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert pop-up aquarium will bring sea level to eye level in July

A permanent peak to reef ecology centre is in the planning stages by North Coast Ecology Society

Prince Rupert’s Ellen Wright and Graeme Dickens jam out during filming the two Ring System Studio concerts to be broadcast on television during June. (Photo: supplied, H. Cox)
Ring System Studio sounds on television

Two concerts by the Prince Rupert music school will be broadcast in June

Commerical marijuana grow ops that are budding up in Prince Rupert’s downtown core are legal and out of the city’s jurisdiction, Mayor Lee Brain said, on June 14. (Photo:supplied/K-J Millar)
Prince Rupert downtown’s pretty dope

Marijuana operations grow in the Prince Rupert city core

Unionized longshore and port workers gather along Highway 16 on June 15 not crossing the picket line where Prince Rupert Solidarity Movement group protests the docking and unloading of the JPO Volans, a ship with Israeli designed technology and equipment. (Photo: K-J Millar/the Northern View)
Prince Rupert Solidarity Group pickets at port in protest

Demonstrations against the container ship JPO Volans lead into the second day to dissuade docking

BC Ferries has announced the welcoming back onboard of recreational travellers on June 15 after the provincial travel restrictions were lifted. (Courtesy of BC Ferries)
BC Ferries welcomes back recreational passengers

The ferries corp will relax mask-wearing in outdoor spaces

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read