Published on September 19th, 2013 | by Veronica Scars2
Scarlicious (R) and her partner Becky Burningham; Photo: O'Durgy
Getting Up Again
I’m getting ready to retire from roller derby. I’ve been working hard to prep for my final bouts, getting those last hits, hugs, bumps, bruises, high-fives, heckles, jam-line belches and jam-line dances out of my system. I’ve clocked thousands of miles travelling, opened and closed my own derby store, torn my ACL, broken a finger in few places, logging in too many hours in board meetings all for the sake of roller derby.
But I didn’t really understand what it all meant until I saw her again.
She was 60 pounds lighter. A skeleton of her former self. We could see her bones through her skin. She had a pacemaker for her butt. I didn’t even know that existed. It had been nearly three years since I had seen Scarlicious, and despite all of the outside changes she still had the same laugh, the same smile.
She was a fearless blocker with the Salt City Derby Girls and the Leave It To Cleavers. She never took it easy on anyone, especially herself. There’s that one time I heard her tell a fresh meat girl “brace yourself” before sending the poor girl flying across the track. When the Salt City Shakers played Duke City at Rollercon 2008, Salt City was grossly outmatched. It wasn’t even a little bit close. But there was Scar, who would go jam, return to the bench to puke from the heat and go back to do it again. She had a scar on her ankle from her skates that never healed and bunions that took over her foot. But she kept skating, kept dishing out her killer hits.
But two years ago, everything changed. Having already suffered from ulcerative colitis since 2003, in Scar’s bladder fell May 2011. This required full bladder surgery followed by a full hysterectomy — where her surgeons discovered a 10.6-pound tumor. Years of severe acid reflux destroyed her throat, so once recovered she had a Nissen Flundoplication-throat replacement surgery. Unfortunately her reconstructed throat closed off and is preventing her body from accepting food. She vomits daily.
In February, she was diagnosed with severe dehydration and malnutrition, but unable to gain weight. By March her ulcerative colitis caused complete bowel and bladder incontinence. She was taken to the emergency room twice by her employer, and was forced out on March 10. Scar’s most recent surgery was June 12. She had an Interstim Neurostimulator put into her left buttocks, which sends constant and powerful electronic stimulants to the bladder, bowel, kidneys and lower region as a means of controlling the incontinence.
It’s because of Scar and her health situation that I remember what this roller derby stuff is all about: our community. This really could happen to anyone of us. But we also have the power to help this single mother get back up after falling. After getting in touch with our former team captain Dangerlove, I knew what we had to do. We had to get an entire roller derby and Salt Lake City community together to help her through this.
It’s not been easy, either. The goal is high. The $20,000 we are aiming for will cover about six months of medical and living expenses. But I truly believe we can do this. Instead of skating to finish out my derby career, I am now skating with a little more purpose. Every day, we inch closer and closer to really saving someone’s life.
So, as you’re going to playoffs, going crazy at the afterparties, planning out and raising your own funds for Divisionals and Champs, please keep Scarlicious in mind. She is in need of a lot of love and support. Even if you can’t donate, every time it gets shared on Facebook, Twitter and all of other social media, our numbers tick up a little more. If we can do this together, I truly believe there’s nothing this group of women can’t do.
If you’d like to donate, visit: gofundme.com/Scarlicious. GameGear and Roll Models have teamed up with the fund to reward the team who helps raise the most money with a set of free uniforms. To participate, make a donation and write which league you’re donating on behalf of in the comments. The contest ends on September 26th.