Britt Gibson is no stranger to a challenge — having played in an AFLW grand final for the Brisbane Lions— but she is taking on two new and very different challenges in 2018: participating in the MS Brissie to the Bay 100km bike ride and welcoming a new addition to her family later in the year.
Expecting her first child with partner Jamie, Britt has reflected on the role her mother has played throughout her life in encouraging her. She credits her mother, Megan, as her biggest inspiration and the glue that holds together not only their family but the small Tasmanian community of Wilmot, outside of Cradle Mountain.
Megan was particularly supportive of Britt pursuing her AFL career even before the creation of the Women’s League. Britt says,
“[She] Always stuck by me, always encouraged me to play with the boys and look where I am now.”
Britt moved to Queensland in early 2017 to pursue her dream of playing in the AFL Women’s League when she was drafted to the Brisbane Lions. But being away from family and friends can be very difficult.
Megan was diagnosed with MS four years ago at the age of 50. This means Megan can’t travel to see as many of Britt’s games as she would like and limits how much physical work she is able to do on the farm.
Megan first noticed the symptoms of MS when she experienced difficulty retaining information, her strength deteriorated, and she had issues with sight, numbness, and mobility but is grateful to be living in an era where research and medicine have proven so helpful to people living with MS.
“I am naturally a cheerful, bubbly person but I am not going to pretend as my journey goes forward my emotions have not played a part” says Megan. Experiencing exacerbations and coming through the other side has made Megan stronger and more positive. Her mantra is,
“it is what it is, I can’t change it. I know whatever comes my way I am strong enough to deal with it. I am going to be okay.”
Before her Mum’s diagnosis, Britt admits she was unaware of what people with MS live with each day. That’s why she’ll cycle 100km in MS Queensland’s Brissie to the Bay bike ride this June to raise not only funds, but awareness for people, like her mum, living with MS.
Expecting her own child has prompted a change of outlook for Britt. “I’m very excited. With someone else I’m going to be responsible for and look after, and hopefully give the same opportunities that my Mum gave me and support them in whatever they want to do.”
Britt’s mum has always been her number one supporter and is extremely proud to see her play at the highest level. It’s this unwavering support that Britt wishes to reciprocate by participating in the Brissie to the Bay.
“My mum is a very fun loving, outgoing, strong lady. I love her very much and she is never alone on this journey.”
You can support Britt’s fundraising efforts in the 2018 MS Brissie to Bay here.