Courageous curler's legacy felt at Masters competition in Grand Forks

Gerry Foster
By Gerry Foster
March 3rd, 2012

Anita Cochrane was born in Quebec in 1971. When she was three years of age her father, Ted Bassett, was winning his share of curling games. He reached the Men’s finals in Quebec in 1974 and that would be followed by numerous achievements in the sport in other provinces. Not surprisingly Anita would embrace curling and later in life would, herself, become involved in the competitive side of the game.

In 2001, while cycling across Canada with her husband on their honeymoon, and upon their arrival in Newfoundland, Anita discovered a lump on her breast. What began was a long and difficult battle with cancer. For a few years the treatments and medication were working; then the disease returned in her spine and pelvis.

This outstanding athlete became an inspiration to others. Incredibly she continued to curl competitively and in 2009 was part of the team which won the BC Mixed championship. At the National competition she received the Most Sportsmanlike Player Award. Through this extremely difficult time Anita not only excelled on curling ice, she also became a dedicated fund raiser for the BC Cancer Foundation.

Unable to curl anymore she took up coaching and took two Lower Mainland teams to the provincial finals. Her mother, Mona, said, “We never knew where she found the strength to do that.” Anita’s response to her long battle with the disease and her amazing ability to persevere, “It was easier to fight than to give up.”

In the spring of 2010 this remarkable and beautiful human being was asked to coach the Australian Senior Men’s team at the World Championships in Russia. The team won a Bronze Medal which is an extremely rare feat for a nation where curling is a very minor sport. Two months later Anita Cochrane received the Curl BC Coach of the Year award. I was present that day in Richmond and it was a very emotional moment.

Less than four months later, on Oct.  5, Anita Cochrane lost her battle with cancer. She was courageous and inspirational to the end. Her name is well known in this province as one who raised thousands of dollars for Cancer research, even while living with the disease. She will forever be remembered in BC curling circles, as Curl BC, the governing body of curling in this province, has renamed its annual coaching accolade; it will now be known as the Anita Cochrane Coach of the Year Award.

Her dad, whom she coached to an International Bronze Medal, is still competing and is in Grand Forks as one of the competitors in the BC Masters provincial championships this weekend. 

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