Yellowknifer Maggie Carson has been announced as flag bearer for Team NT at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alberta.

Maggie recently returned to gymnastics full-time after taking long periods of time off over the last two years to focus on her recovery, which included going through chemotherapy and many medical procedures. At a gymnastics competition in December 2016 while in Vancouver, Maggie was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumour and underwent emergency surgery.

Maggie told Moose FM that she never did stop training except right after her 2 brain surgeries and then for about 4 months while she was in Vancouver for the first part of her chemo treatment.

“Once I started back at the gym for full training I trained 16 hours a week and just took Fridays and Saturdays off for treatment and rest.”

For Maggie, the most challenging part of recovery was regaining her strength and working through the side effects that came from chemotherapy.

“Canada Games and then Nationals have always been my goals but sometimes during treatment and because of what was happening, I wasn’t sure I was ever going to be able to make it.”

She added that her love for gymnastics and being in the gym with her best friends was big in overcoming everything she had to deal with during her treatment.

“They are there for me and we all support each other. I’m so excited to be doing this with them.”

Gymnastics coach John Tram said that it was a very easy decision to nominate Maggie for the flagbearer as she has gone through and overcome a lot of physical and mental obstacles this past couple of years.

“Everyone at the gymnastics club knows what she has gone through, but no one fully understands as much as she does. She’s never used what she’s gone through as an excuse for anything to hold her back, and also always remains positive.”

Tram added that Maggie being a brain tumour survivor is the biggest life achievement that goes beyond sports or any medals.

“She shows tremendous courage and strength all of the time and motivates and inspires other athletes, coaches and community members around her more than she realizes.”

He also noted that Maggie was very surprised about being named flag bearer as she had no idea she was nominated and that there was no one more deserving than Maggie for this honour.

“She feels very honoured and can’t wait to proudly lead Team NT into the 2019 Canada Winter Games. Everyone is really proud of Maggie, after all the challenges she has endured over the past two years as well as qualifying for the Canada Winter Games.”

Team NT headed to the 2019 Canada Winter Games will feature 93 athletes, 37 coaches, managers and technical staff, 17 mission staff, a Chef de Mission and an Assistant Chef de Mission.

Opening Ceremonies for the 2019 Canada Winter Games will take place at 6:30 pm in Red Deer on Friday, February 15th.