Learning to Take Up Space: Interview with para-athlete Candice Combdon

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Naturopathic Doctor & PhD turned scientific creative, travel adventurer, joy seeker, book lover, mom of two amazing humans, wife to her best friend. 

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Special bonus episode with Para-athlete Candice Combdon! ⁠ 

If you’ve been listening to the XO Conversations podcast, you know that the format is very different. ⁠

This is not the typical episode style because we wanted to share the entire conversation. ⁠  Candice talks to your host, Rishma Walji, about being born with spina bifida, her childhood and decision to amputate as an adult, how she started in tennis and her approach to sport and being an athlete. They talk about accessibility, struggles, getting out of your comfort zone and so much more.

That was a very vital moment of my life where I thought “I’m allowed to take up space”. As a disabled person, as a disabled woman, I’m allowed to be out there and doing things and being enjoying myself, I don’t have to sit home and hide myself.

Candice Combdon, 2021

Topics We Discuss In This Episode:

  • Disability and Access
  • Trying new things and getting out of your comfort zone
  • Wheelchair tennis

Candice has an incredible story from being born with spina bifida and growing up with a disability to later having her leg amputated at 30 years old. She plays wheelchair tennis.

‘Being out there and being active has made a world of difference,’ says Candice Combdon.

As someone who was not particularly active growing up, Combdon says she never expected she’d become an athlete, but fell in love with wheelchair tennis after trying it out for the first time about eight years ago for the first time during a Have A Go Day hosted by the Ontario Para Network.

Candice was very shy and introverted as a kid. She said she felt like she didn’t belong. Through wheelchair tennis, she’s found her ‘inner athlete’.

“So now consider myself an athlete just in the way that I carry myself in my every day, you know, the things that I’m doing on a daily basis, which you know, are training and taking care of my body and making sure I’m eating the right things, staying hydrated, things like that, that I wouldn’t have necessarily needed to think about otherwise. You know, we know obviously, they’re important for everybody for everyday life to be healthy and, and, you know, keep active, but they weren’t things that were at the forefront of my mind. But definitely within the last few years, and now that I’ve sort of dove into this, this world of pair athletics and pair sport, and I’m really realizing that I, I want to take this somewhere, I’ve definitely changed my mindset a lot.”

Candice says her ultimate goal would be to represent Canada at the Paralympics. We’ll be cheering her on.

Connect with our guest, Candice Combdon


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Travel adventurer, joy seeker, book lover

Hi, I'm Rishma.
Your BFF + New
Life Strategist.

I ran a thriving healthcare practice as a Naturopathic Doctor and Acupuncturist for over 20 years. I also earned my PhD and spent time in academic research and teaching positions. Now, I read scientific studies because I'm passionate about personal growth. I use the insights to help me, and our community, live our own XO life.

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