The Brown/Bellerose Family

“I have been a curler all my life and a fan of Sandra Schmirler. I have always donated to the Sandra Schmirler Foundation because it is a great cause and it honours an amazing woman who was taken from us far too soon. In supporting the Foundation, we never thought that one day it would be our premature baby girls that would be benefiting from these donations.” 
Erin Bellerose

Our story starts back in October 2015 when to our shock and excitement, my husband Ryan and I found out we were expecting twins in April 2016. Our shock was doubled when we were told that the babies were Mono Mono twins, which meant they were sharing one placenta and one sac. This meant we needed to prepare for a high-risk delivery at a hospital away from our home.

After several ultrasounds, we were relieved to find out that the babies were actually Mono Di twins, meaning they were sharing one placenta, but they each had their own individual sac. This change meant that if all went well we could now deliver our identical twin girls at the Sault Area Hospital in our hometown of Sault Ste. Marie.

Although I was carrying twins, I had a pretty uneventful pregnancy. Due to the positioning of the girls in utero, we knew they were due to arrive at 37.5 weeks via C-section. However, my body had other ideas and thankfully it did because at the time we were unaware that the girls had developed a rare form of Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome known as TAPS. Baby B was getting most of the red blood cells and Baby A was being deprived of them which could have been fatal for one or both girls if they had waited any longer to arrive.

On March 30, 2016, at 35 weeks, the girls made their entrance into the world one minute apart via emergency C-section. Lauryn Alexis was born first, weighing 4lbs 2oz and Logan McKenna followed, weighing 5lbs 7oz. Unfortunately, due to complications with my delivery, I did not get to meet my beautiful baby girls right away.

I was sent to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) following their birth and they were receiving care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).   It was 30 long hours before I met my girls for the first time but they were being well taken care of by their Daddy and the amazing nurses and doctors in the NICU.

Our family would spend 10 more days in the NICU before being released from the hospital. Today Lauryn and Logan are healthy happy typical two-year-old girls. We are grateful for every day and recognize that the Sault Area Hospital’s NICU was a vital part of our successful birth story. 

“SPIRIT OF SANDRA” $5,000 JUNIOR SCHOLARSHIPS WINNERS

For the sixth consecutive year, the Sandra Schmirler Foundation has awarded six $5,000 scholarships to junior curlers pursuing their competitive curling dreams while continuing their post-secondary education. Scholars will be mentored by well-known champion curlers, Cathy Overton-Clapham and Pat Simmons.

“The selection process for this scholarship is rigorous and competitive. Each of our scholars excels both athletically and academically. And, they are all engaged with their communities and committed to giving back to curling and keeping Sandra’s legacy alive”, said Cathy.

“We are looking forward to sharing information and experiences as well as providing guidance, motivation, and support to these talented young athletes as they aspire to realize their own dreams”, added Pat.

As part of their scholarship, each of the new scholars will organize a fundraising event in their own community. At the end of curling season, the scholars will award a $10,000 grant to a hospital of their choice for the purchase of life-saving equipment to help save babies lives.

“This scholarship gave me opportunities, friendships and memories that will last a life time. Although my time as a scholar is over, I have been introduced to a family who ensures that the legacy of Sandra will live on forever and that babies, too sick or too small, can grow up to be champions like Sandra.”
Kyle Barron, 2-time Scholar, Stephenville, NL

INTRODUCING OUR 2018-2019 SPIRIT OF SANDRA SCHOLARS

ALEXA DIXON (Saskatchewan)
Alexa is in the Faculty of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan. She is a volunteer at a Veterinary Clinic and is working towards a degree in Animal Bioscience. Alexa started curling at the North Hill Curling Club when she was 7. She has been an instructor at Learn to Curl programs in Calgary and Saskatoon and is looking forward to inspiring the next generation of curlers.
EMILY PLETT (Alberta)
Emily is in the Education Faculty at the University of Alberta in Edmonton studying to become a teacher. She is a repeat winner of this scholarship. “As a student and curler, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of everyday pressures. Being a part of the Sandra Schmirler Foundation has allowed me to slow down and reflect on the value of helping others, and the fulfilling feeling of making a small difference in saving a life.”
MEGAN SMITH (Ontario)
Megan is studying for her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Biology at the Laurentian University and aspires to be a pediatrician. Her University team were Academic All Canadian in 2017/2018, as well as USport Canadian Champions in 2017. The team competed in China at the International Curling Elite Championship this past year. Megan has made a remarkable recovery from a very serious car accident.
LAUREN LENENTINE (Prince Edward Island)
Lauren is studying Science at Dalhousie University and plans to become a physiotherapist. This past year she was alternate for Team Canada at the World Junior Curling Championships in Scotland where Canada were gold medalists. Lauren is a 9-time PEI provincial champion and was runner up at the 2018 PEI Scotties Provincial Tournament of Hearts. She also excels in softball and is a Rose Bowl Step champion.
SELENA STURMAY (Alberta)
Selena is studying for her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Alberta to become a pediatric nurse. In 2016, Selena skipped her team at the 2016 Canadian Junior Women’s Championship. In 2018, she was USport Champion and Alberta Mixed Doubles Champion playing with her brother Karsten, who is a 2-time Spirit of Sandra Scholar. Together they will be representing Canada at the 2019 Winter Universiade in Russia.
SARAH HOAG (Saskatchewan)
Sarah returns as a Spirit of Sandra Scholar from 2016-2017. She is currently pursuing a degree in Education at the University of Regina but plans to continue in Graduate Studies to become a lawyer. Sarah has competed at the USport Nationals and was U18 Saskatchewan Champion in 2017. “Curling is my life. I love volunteering, learning and travelling.”

2017 Spirit of Sandra Junior Scholars

Five years ago, the Spirit of Sandra Scholarships were created to help junior curlers play competitively while continuing their post-secondary education.

Since then, the Sandra Schmirler Foundation has awarded scholarships every year in the amount of $5,000 to six deserving junior curlers.

The scholars are mentored by two iconic champion curlers: Cathy Overton-Clapham and Pat Simmons. Both Cathy and Pat give generously of their time, sharing their love of the game and dedication to the Sandra Schmirler Foundation.

In turn, these young people have embraced the Foundation and Sandra’s legacy. They are eager and successful fundraisers and have raised almost $10,000 for the Foundation through their own fundraisers, which include a live auction on Facebook, a funspiel, 50/50’s, a pancake breakfast, crowd sweeps and much more.

At the end of the season, the Spirit of Sandra scholars choose amongst five different hospital applications and award a $10,000 gift for the purchase of life-saving equipment for that hospital’s NICU.

We have been enthralled by the enthusiasm of these young people. Each one of them is a leader who motivates and inspires others. They know what’s important to them and understand what drives them. More important, they understand how their lives touch others.

We’d like to share their words with you as they reflect on their past year as a Spirit of Sandra Scholar and what it’s meant to each of them.

“Being a Spirit of Sandra Scholar was such an honour and a privilege as I was able to be a part of an organization that saves so many babies lives across Canada. As a student and curler, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of everyday pressures. Being a part of the Sandra Schmirler Foundation allowed me to slow down and reflect on the value of helping others, and the fulfilling feeling of making a small difference in saving a life.”
Emily Plett – Carstairs, Alberta

“The Sandra Schmirler Foundation has not only allowed me to pursue my academic and curling careers but has also provided the amazing opportunity to bring my curling community closer together in support of an amazing cause. I will always treasure the connections and memories I have made with the Sandra Schmirler Foundation as they have changed my life for the better!”
Megan Daniels – Delta, British Columbia

“It is so rewarding to give back to the Foundation by organizing a fundraiser. To be part of more than just a Foundation—a legacy—is like standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Derek Leung – Toronto, Ontario

“The feeling of being named a Spirit of Sandra Scholar is absolutely amazing. This scholarship has given me opportunities, friendships and memories that will last a life time. Cathy and Pat have been incredible and have been great mentors, friends, and people who we, as scholars, aspire to be like one day. 

This scholarship has introduced me to a family who ensures that the legacy of Sandra will live on forever and that babies, too sick or too small, have a chance to grow up to be a Champion like Sandra was.”
Kyle Barron – Stephenville, Newfoundland

“Born premature myself, it has been a wonderful learning experience for me to see just how much goes into supporting babies born too soon, too sick or too small. I have made many lifelong friendships because of the Spirit of Sandra Scholarship. It’s an honour to be a part of such a great Foundation.”
Hayden Forrester – Winnipeg, Manitoba

“The most significant thing I take away from my experience as a Spirit of Sandra Scholar is inspiration. My time spent with the Foundation has left me with a genuine desire to continue doing my part in ensuring the legacy of Sandra lives on, and a deep-seated faith that it will.”
Karsten Sturmay – Leduc, Alberta

The future of the Sandra Schmirler Foundation is in good hands with another generation who are committed to ensuring that she is not forgotten and that her legacy lives on.

Thank you for being a loyal donor. We hope you are as touched as we were when we read our scholars’ quotes. The future of the Sandra Schmirler Foundation is embodied in their enthusiasm to continue to fulfill our mission and help save these miracle babies lives.


If you know a junior curler who is continuing their studies after graduating from high school, please have them go to our website and apply for a Spirit of Sandra Scholarship.

It’s a life-changing experience!

www.sandraschmirler.org/english/spirit-of-sandra