Hedda Karin Camilla Sivertsson
Hedda always looked forward to the ski season and being together with her NJSRA friends, coaches and the committed ski families. As much as she loved the freedom and speed of skiing, she even more treasured the friendship within the ski community. She started skiing at the age of three and she was quick to learn and she immediately fell in love with the sport and made friends with people all over the mountain. At that time our family discovered the NASTAR program at Mountain Creek and we would race each other every weekend. Fairly quickly both Hedda and William were signed up for the Superstars program whilst her little sister Elva was still getting used to the sport. To nobody’s surprise Hedda immediately made many new friends and charmed the coaches with her wild and free spirit. Little did we know how much skiing would come to mean for our family.
As Hedda grew into racing she chiefly liked the friendship between girls and boys in a sport where boys and girls practice and race together. She also participated in several other sports and second to skiing Hedda had a liking for rugby. It was again that team spirit, the explosive, full-of-life experience playing with both boys and girls that attracted her.
In September 2015, at the age of 12, Hedda was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a brain tumor. Through the years that followed she went through brain surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, stem cell transplant and immunotherapy. Through her tribulations she remained full of life and against her doctor’s cautions she kept on skiing during her first year of treatment.
The disease progressed quickly and bound her to a wheelchair as the tumor crushed her spine. Despite all she went through Hedda continued going to the races so she could be with her friends and extended family, and always cheering them on. The tumor never stopped her from being there for her friends, and her friends were always there for her. The race team became Hedda’s village where she belonged and where she had a bond and friendship that was strong and compassionate.
Hedda was a girl full of life who deeply cared for people and animals. Starting at the young age of 7, she and her dog Julia visited long term care facilities to give the comfort to the elderly. Sometimes her caring spirit would backfire, as when she caught a squirrel in distress that ended up biting her and requiring her to get several rabies shots. Her kindheartedness for people and animals was always with her and was always shining through.
Hedda’s own fight never stopped her from reaching out to people in need. On the contrary, she became even more compassionate for the children and families that were going through similarly awful life changing events as she did. She had the strength to carry her friends and family through the hardship she endured, and she always greeted people with a smile. Hedda’s sense of humor, curiosity, openness, and bravery, coupled with maturity beyond her young age made her connect and welcome people at all ages and different walks of life.