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This article is brought to you by Allan Bush at CIBC Wood Gundy Waterloo

Tri-County Thunder alumni, Alex Klein’s basketball career took an unexpected turn when she planned to tackle her next chapter in Luxembourg.

I knew something wasn’t right.

Everything changed for Alex when she made that phone call home to her Mom and it was clear, her health was her first priority. At this point, Alex knew her symptoms weren’t “normal” and were so severe that she could not compete.

As a result, she traveled back home to see a specialist and that’s when she realized her basketball career could be over. The mixture of concern, frustration, sadness, and relief all entertained her thoughts. This severe flare-up was enough to bring her home and reassess. It was time to listen to her body.

Thankfully, Alex can acknowledge that her parents and close friends were very supportive. She can clearly recall the support and impact of genuine care.

She wrestled with the diagnosis of Crohn’s, the end of a long-term relationship and the closed door of planned work in the U.S. when her visa was rejected at the border. Not to mentioned she moved 5 times in 8 months.

Reconsidering her opportunity to go back overseas and play, even in Australia, she decided the best fit was to pursue her business career.

This decision landed her back in Ontario where she worked for Ron Foxcroft at Fox 40 International (Hamilton) in Sales; Fox 40 makes the whistles and coaching boards used in sport worldwide.

This past year she was also a finalist for the Wayne Embry Fellowship with the Toronto Raptors.

Though that portion of her story was filled with challenges, she is thankful for her supportive network of people and the tools she has to manage her diagnosis.

For someone who may experience an unexpected medical diagnosis while pursuing their basketball goals, Alex wants them to know:

  1. Health is the first and most important thing and it needs to always come first.
  2. Surround yourself with those who genuinely care about what is best for you. Your environment in anything you do has a huge impact on your happiness, well-being, and health, both mentally and physically.
  3. If you can eventually, stay active and involved whether that be basketball-related or not, find that passion and stay involved with it somehow. For example, I am a sponsored athlete (by EHPlabs) and run my own food account while helping coordinate food events. Food and fitness are two passions of mine. Maybe one day I will work in business and fitness, who knows? Follow that passion and go all in.

Now, she is working for Neelands Group in Burlington alongside a kickboxing training gig part-time at 30 Min Hit in Ancaster. We are thankful for her willingness to share her story with the Tri-County community.