Tragedy Struck and a Kootenay Mom Adapted
What do you do when your world changes in an instant?
Following the tragic news of her husband’s skiing accident which left him a quadriplegic, Invermere’s own Cassy Campbell did what any mom would do: she decided to take her newly purchased hobby-business to the next level all while becoming her family’s primary breadwinner, her husband’s primary care-giver, continue being the mom of two active kids, and now giving back to her community, and moms everywhere. No big deal, right?
Two years ago, with her kids now going to school, Cassy was looking for a side business for herself, to put her talents to use. Her husband was the family’s primary-breadwinner, and they were outside all the time with their two kids Taylor, 7 and Owen, 10; skiing, hiking, biking and playing in the natural playground that is the Kootenays. Keeping them warm and dry is critical for her family to stay active, outdoors and having fun together. Buying Stripes Gear, a base layer company that produces a premium base layer, was a natural choice.
“If it can work for my kids, I figured it can work for every mom’s kids. It’s really a by mom’s for mom’s kind of product. My family tests everything before I will sell it,” explained Campbell.
She also loved that it was a fair trade garment, ethically made on the South Island of New Zealand.
Her plans changed quickly. “18 months ago, our lives changed in an instant,” recalls Campbell.
While skiing at Panorama Resort her husband had an accident that damaged his spinal cord, rendering him a quadriplegic.
“My husband Forrest’s accident turned the whole family upside down,” explained Campbell. “Everything we used to know and do as an active family came to an abrupt halt. For about a year and a half everything was a blur between hospital appointments and holding the family together. I was just running on adrenaline for a year I think. I was doing what any mom would do and just kept chugging along.”
Cassy had to make the critical decision to let go of her new hobby-business or double down on her efforts and take the company to a whole new level.
She is now on track with a new mission and a new purpose, renewed energy and a strategy to take Stripes Gear to the top and give back to other families like hers.
“Taking kids skiing and playing outside is complicated. The boots, the passes, the crying, the “I have to go to the bathroom,” just after suiting up. If I can help moms make that process simpler by keeping their kids warm and dry and having fun outside, then their kids will thank them and love them forever for it, and mom can have one less piece of stress in her life.”
At the same time, she is giving back to other families by giving 10% of participating sales back to various clubs and groups, mostly adaptive ski clubs. “There is no question it’s been a lot of work, but then whole family helps out with the business and giving back like this rewards us ten times as much as the effort we put in,” concluded Campbell.
Over the past 18 months her family has not only stayed together and strong, but even flourished. They have gotten Forrest back on the ski hill, and their family is once again having fun playing together outdoors, and working together on their family business, as well as helping others overcome challenges to get outside and play too.