Kelsey Fiddler says every time she looks at her smiling baby’s face she feels stronger. It’s a gift, she says, from the Humboldt Broncos defenceman she named her daughter after.
Fiddler, who is from the Red Earth Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, was pregnant and travelling with her two sons on the clear afternoon last April when a semi-trailer shot into the path of a bus carrying the junior hockey team.
She was just a few metres away, stopped at the intersection and facing the truck driver, when the impact occurred.
“It feels like it was just yesterday. Sometimes I just don’t want to remember it because remembering the day, I literally start crying,” she said in an interview from Nipawin, Sask.
“That day, all I could do was pray.”
Fiddler says she tried to stay calm as first responders arrived at the crash site, but suddenly she was having contractions. She didn’t want to distract from rescue efforts or take up an ambulance, so she drove herself to the hospital in Nipawin.
The baby was healthy and the contractions stopped. At the hospital, Fiddler finally allowed herself to cry.
In the weeks that followed, as the baby kicked inside her, Fiddler often thought about the 16 people killed and 13 who were injured.
She learned how Logan Boulet, a 21-year-old defenceman, had signed an organ donation card on his birthday five weeks before he was killed.
His organs helped six people across Canada and nearly 100,000 Canadians who learned about the young player signed up to become donors.
“It was inspirational.”
The expecting mother reached out to Logan’s parents, Bernadine and Toby Boulet, and explained her connection to the crash. They gave her permission to name her soon-to-be-born baby in honour of their son.
On June 4, Logan Humble Strong was born at the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert, Sask.
“She is a handful already,” Fiddler said, laughing, explaining how Logan was quick to learn to crawl, walk and play with her older siblings.
“She’s healthy. She’s a real chubby girl and she’s cute.”
The year since the crash has been difficult for Fiddler.
She said she still thinks about the scene and gets panic attacks, but has to be brave for her two sons, who were in the car and witnessed the collision.
It is nine-month-old Logan who gives the family strength.
“She’s our pride and joy. She just comforts us in every way.”
The Canadian Press