Amber Rainshadow swam five kilometres to raise money for Pacifica Housing’s Youth Group program.

Amber Rainshadow swam five kilometres to raise money for Pacifica Housing’s Youth Group program.

Woman swims to raise money for Pacifica Youth Groups

Amber Rainshadow a long-time advocate for people with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear bathing suits and goggles.

A 20-year Pacifica Housing tenant completed a swim-a-thon in Saanich Commonwealth Place Thursday to raise money for youth.

Amber Rainshadow, born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), uses a wheelchair and has significant paralysis from the waist down. But that didn’t stop her from swimming five kilometres in just over an hour and raising $3,500 for Pacifica’s Youth Group program.

“Even though I am experiencing more limitations to my range of motion, I was still able to compete the distance which I’m very happy about,” she said.

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Rainshadow lived a difficult life, experiencing abuse and neglect as she moved more than 22 times during her time in the foster care system.

Affordable housing offered her a real home.

“I experienced a pendulum of emotions when I moved into my new home, from fearing for my safety and sleeping in the closet in case someone broke in, to complete elation. I remember looking around and thinking, ‘Wow, I have my own house, this is mine, I actually live here,’” she said.

“If I hadn’t received housing, I wouldn’t have been able to work through my experiences and I would not be here today,” she said. “The support I get from Pacifica is more than I would get anywhere else, the compassion shows all the way around.”

Pacifica Housing offers 1,200 units of affordable rental housing across Vancouver Island. It’s Youth Group program is a free, weekly drop-in held across three separate complexes in Greater Victoria.

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