In May 2013, the legendary Pippi Strongblocking of the Shotgun Sheilas was diagnosed with breast cancer after a chance trip to the hospital following concussive injuries at a charity bout.
In the months that followed, the outpouring of support for our girl Pippi melted the hardest of derby hearts. Monies were raised. Awareness was raised. And in the early stages of 2014, our spirits were raised as it was announced that Wendy, the whimsically-named tumor that had invaded all our lives and threatened one of our finest, had been crushed utterly.
Pippi Strongblocking is cancer-free, and this weekend, she makes her return to the flat track for Dead Girl Derby‘s 2014 championship game.
As usual, we caught up with some of her teammates and friends to get their thoughts.
So sayeth Coach Wyatt:
“This Saturday will be the first game that Pippi has skated in 15 months with the Shotgun Sheilas. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2013, it was a blow to everyone in the league. But, as I knew she would, she battled and destroyed every bit of cancer. The second she was released to skate, she was skating. When she was released for contact, she was scrimmaging. Pippi has done a lot of training, on and off skates, to get back into shape.
We have an amazingly deep bench with amazing skaters and she has had to work her ass off to earn her spot back. In the absence of Pippi, the team was forced to find themselves without her and I am damn proud of every single girl on my roster. Aneeda Hurtcha stepped up into some big shoes, and in my opinion, filled every single inch of them. Now with Pippi back in the lineup, we will see what happens. There is no denying that she is the heart of the Sheilas; she is a leader on and off the track. She brings an intensity and calmness to the track that it hard to describe. I am extremely excited for the game on Saturday to see how my Shelias do against the very talented Royal Pains. It is sure to be one hell of a battle. PFIST! ”
So sayeth Aneeda Hurtcha:
“I have had the immense pleasure of having Pippi be my teammate and friend for four seasons of roller derby. She has one of the most kind and peaceful souls I have ever known and I trust and respect her tremendously. Pippi has always been a calming presence for me while on the track and words can not express how happy I am to have my Pippi back.”
So sayeth Hittie Kittie:
“When I found out Pippi had cancer, I was devastated. The whole team was just shaken to their core. The league was utterly shocked. Her battle was no easy journey, but she came through it all victoriously. Taking the track with her on Saturday for the championship game is both an honor and a dream come true. The Sheilas have their heart back. We were never the same team without her. If cancer can’t stop us, nothing can! We are Sheila Strong!”
Pippi Strongblocking and the Shotgun Sheilas will face the Royal Pains tomorrow night at Kemper Arena for the 2014 Dead Girl Derby championship. Click the banner above for the Facebook event page. Doors open at 5:00, games begin at 6:00.