Mother and daughter bond over distance and track and field

Deborah Carter and her daughter Alyssah's personal and professional relationship is on display at the 2012 BC Summer Games.

Deborah Carter and her 17-year-old daughter Alyssah share a love for sports.

Carter, 45, and her daughter both coach athletics in track and field for Special Olympics in Surrey.

Even when they’re not coaching, they “do everything together.”

But at the 2012 BC Summer Games in Surrey, mother and daughter are miles apart at opposite ends of the host city.

Deborah is coaching the Fraser Valley (Zone 3) Special Olympics team at Bear Creek Park in several athletics events.

In addition to being a coach, Alyssah is also an athlete and she’s competing for medals with her Fraser River-Delta (Zone 4) girls rugby team at the South Surrey Athletic Park.

“She’s at the rugby game competing and for the first time I don’t get to watch her,” Deborah said with a tinge of disappointment in her voice.

Despite the distance that separates them, Alyssah is keeping in close touch with her mother, sending a flurry of text messages between plays.

“She’s doing great and I’m getting more text messages that I ever have before because she’s keeping me updated on how it’s going,” Deborah said.

Originally, Deborah wanted to become a special education teacher but her path led her to coaching with the Special Olympics organization. She’s been coaching now for 27 years.

When she was 31, and single, Deborah adopted three-year-old Alyssah from Haiti.

They’ve shared a close bond ever since.

Alyssah started volunteering with Special Olympics Surrey at the age of 12 and once she was old enough she became an assistant coach.

“We’ve done everything together. She’s growing up, doing her own thing now, but she still wants me around, and I’m very lucky,” Deborah said proudly.

Deborah noted Alyssah’s grandparents and pals are snapping lots of pictures and shooting videos of the rugby match at the South Surrey Athletic Park so she can catch up on all the action, after the Games close, at a special family gathering.

“We’ll do a post-party Sunday night.”


by Marisa Babic

(BC Summer Games news service)

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