Just how loved was Tessa Beauchamp? Consider this: three separate fundraisers are held in honour of the Surrey teen who passed away seven years ago.
The first is done by the Surrey elementary school she attended, Frost Road Elementary, while her secondary school, Holy Cross Regional High School, is the main site of the Tessa Tournament, a huge girls basketball tournament which drew 44 Grade, Junior and Senior teams this past February.
And next on the list is the Langley Thunder Senior A lacrosse organization, which is once again donning special Tessa-inspired purple jerseys for their Western Lacrosse Association finale on July 24. Bids are being accepted online until July 23 at 11 p.m. before fans at Langley Events Centre can bid in person at the game.
All the proceeds (as well as money raised from the sale of Root Beer Floats donated by Langley A&W for the game) go to the Tessa Beauchamp Foundation.
The Foundation distributes scholarships for students as well as assist registered charities in their efforts both locally and internationally.
This marks the seventh year the Thunder have auctioned off the jerseys and the support is very appreciated by the Beauchamp family.
“It is just nice that it has been seven and a half years since Tessa’s passing and people still come out and support that,” explained Tessa’s mom Wendy. “Obviously it will always stay with us but as time goes by, you worry that people won’t be there to support (the cause) anymore.”
“The more we can do in her name the better it is to have something good come out of something so awful. The more people we can help, the more we can do, the better,” she added.
“The fact the Thunder do this for the organization is pretty amazing and it is nice to know that people still care and want to help.”
Tessa was dating the son of Langley Thunder President Ken Buchan and Buchan was also a teacher at Holy Cross.
“She fought to the end and is an inspiration to so many people,” he said. Tessa passed away in 2012 at the age of 18 after a long and painful battle with a rare type of cancer. But this was just part of the adversity she faced as when she was two years old, her dress caught on fire, resulting in third degree burns to more than 20 per cent of her body.
But through whatever challenges life threw her way, Tessa was always a fighter and an inspiration to those around her. And when she passed, the outpouring of support made it an easy decision to create a legacy to honour Tessa, emulating her spirit and passion for life.
Tessa was known for her infectious smile and warm and happy disposition.
“She was one of those kids who got along with everybody. She was very personable, but I think what made her unique was she had a real empathy for other kids,” said her father, Steve Beauchamp. “She always found a way to make sure she included other people and I think that just drew people to her.”
Sports were a central part of her life and she had earned a scholarship to play post-secondary basketball at Trinity Western University. And even when the cancer returned, it could not keep her off the court, playing whenever she could, health-permitting.
READ MORE: Thunder wear purple for Tessa Beauchamp
A perfect example of this was Tessa trotting out on to the basketball court, a patch covering one eye to combat the double vision which resulted from her treatments, and no hearing in one of her ears. None of this mattered to her.
An anecdote on the Foundation website from her high school basketball coach perfectly sums up Tessa’s spirit and determination.
After the cancer returned in February of her Grade 12 year, that would not stop her from suiting up with the Crusaders the following month at the BC senior girls provincial basketball championships.
“The cancer by this time was making it difficult for her to breathe and left her extremely fatigued,” wrote Holy Cross coach Ryan Tyrrell on the Foundation website.
The Crusaders were facing Sa-Hali, a team which had knocked off Holy Cross in previous big matches and the game was played in front of a large and boisterous crowd with support for both sides.
“From the start, it was evident Tessa was putting in a performance to be remembered. She played close to 40 minutes, scoring 30 points and was a stalwart on defence and on the boards, single-handedly urging her team to victory and a place in the semifinals,” Tyrell said. “As in life and athletics, Tessa refused to give up. She simply could not accept ‘no’ for an answer.
Despite cancer ravaging her body, she was still able to perform at a high enough level to earn provincial all-star honours.
Wednesday, July 24 at Langley Events Centre
Online bidding closes July 23 at 11 p.m. and in-person bidding at LEC closes at end of second intermission of the July 24 game.
To learn more about the Tessa Beauchamp Foundation, click here.
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