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"My name is Diana Alampi. I am 44 years old with three teenagers.
My oldest boy started out with hockey, then my daughter, followed by my youngest.
In 2012, as a mom driving all three around to arenas and working, I found myself very exhausted. I was always feeling unwell, run down and weak, but I knew I had to continue my life as a mom so my kids could pursue their dreams. At the time, going back 5 -7 years, I didn't even know what an offside was.
I was always athletic, but one thing I never learned to do was skate—I couldn't even stand up on skates.
In 2012 I was diagnosed with narcolepsy, which is a neurological condition. It's an immune attack to the orexin/hypocretin of the brain. People with narcolepsy don't produce enough orexin and in turn, it affects their sleep/wake cycles, which causes extreme daytime sleepiness to the point of feeling ill.
I wasn't going to let that run my life, though, so I told my family I wanted to learn to skate and play hockey. They were so supportive!
Having never skated before, I knew that I needed some practice, so faithfully 3-4 times per week I would dress up in full hockey gear and go to adult skating during the day. All of the many retirees would be there skating without helmets on and here I was in full gear. I knew it was the only way for me to learn as I was extremely afraid to skate and fall and couldn't even balance.
Many of the adult skaters were so incredibly helpful! At 39 years old, I was determined, and more and more I just wanted to keep skating.
I did it faithfully and signed up for a women's hockey league that same year. I started off in the lowest tier, which was tier 6. It was the best "goal" I had yet to accomplish. I am presently still playing and moving up to tier 4 this year. I haven't gotten many goals, but FINALLY did last year!
My kids were my inspiration through their love and passion for the game—they taught me passion. Learning the game of hockey taught me to appreciate and love a new sport. It also helped me exercise through something I love to beat: narcolepsy.
I want to inspire women and let them know that it's never too late to start, learn, love the game of hockey and make many new friends! Most of all, to know that even through having a condition that changes the dynamic of life, it's possible to still play hockey and fight a condition by keeping your mind and spirit happy doing something you love and should be proud of. Hockey was my choice and it's the most amazing sport! When you're on the ice nothing else matters!" - Diana Alampi | Hockey player & mom | Hamilton, Ontario