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.

RELATED: Victoria housing provider launches crisis prevention program to combat homelessness

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.

RELATED: Leadership shakeup sees former Victoria mayor Dean Fortin leave Pacifica Housing

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