Local cyclist and two time Invictus bronze medal winner, Naomi Fong, heals through poetry

Sarah Crookall
Staff Reporter

Pairing words with lessons from trauma, Naomi Fong voices her diverse experiences from military service to athletics and growing up in the Ottawa Valley during a local poetry event, Valley Voices.

In time for poetry month, about a dozen attentive listeners attended the poetry event at the Bonnechere Union Public Library on April 7.

As a two-time 2018 bronze winner for women’s road cycling, Fong says the Invictus Games gave her the confidence to speak publically about her experiences with mental health and trauma. Now, as a wellness coach and social service worker graduate, Fong hopes her words can help others show compassion to themselves during hard times.

“The writing really helped with healing and really gave me a way to channel my strong emotions that I do struggle with from time to time,” Fong told the Valley Gazette.

While Fong admits that her former military service in the Canadian Armed Forces in Pembroke seems opposite to poetry, she says creativity has helped her process and cope with trauma from that period of her life.

“I hope people can have compassion for themselves when they’re having a hard time dealing with strong emotions…letting them know that it’s okay,” Fong said. “And it’s real–it’s part of life.”

Stepping to the stage, Fong shared the first poem she wrote, One Young, One Old, a poem detailing a relationship with a fellow Team Canada teammate. Lines such as, “you fill me with hope and peace that has yet to be seen,” were received by a warm audience.

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