Like mother, like daughter.
Following in the footsteps of her mom, Metchosin’s Shaelyn Littlejohn has been awarded a $2,000 scholarship by the Canadian Airborne Forces Association and the Airborne Regiment Association of Canada.
Littlejohn, who received the award in a ceremony on Saturday at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 292 in Victoria, is a recent graduate of Pacific Christian School and is enrolled in the chemistry program at the University of Victoria this fall.
There, she’ll begin to pursue her dream of becoming a pediatric surgeon, an ambition that grew out of personal experience.
Littlejohn was born prematurely and with two congenital heart defects, leading to a childhood spent in and out of the hospital for various surgeries and appointments.
“I feel like I’ll be able to relate not only with what the child is going through, but I can relate to what the parents are going through,” she said. “As my parent’s first child, it was really scary … with all of these issues and they didn’t know what was happening.”
She added, “I like working with children; they’re so resilient and even though they are in the hospital and they are sick, they find joy in the little things.”
And Littlejohn knows all about resiliency, having had to battle throughout her childhood.
“She’s always just pushed through it … she never used it as an excuse,” said her mother, Paula.
The scholarship is given to prospective students in the Armed Forces or to one of their descendants. Shaelyn’s grandfather, William Willbond, was a sergeant in the airborne regiment of the Canadian Armed Forces. “It’s even more special because he really encouraged all of us to go to school,” Paula said of her late father. “School was really important to him.”
Paula, a nurse, received a sum of $300 when she earned the very same scholarship in 1989. “She was excited … that it was [now] $2,000,” she said with a laugh about her daughter’s reaction.
Shaelyn Littlejohn was given the honour for her wide range of achievements in high school, which included being on the honour roll, participating in extra-curricular sports and music, and for her personal merit and potential. She was unanimously selected for the honour by the voting committee.