There were days when Sam Wallace didn’t want to pick up a netball this season.
The NSW Swifts player’s father Hendrickson, who lives in Trinidad and Tobago, suffered his second stroke earlier this year.
“It’s been a hard journey, I’m not going to lie,” the 25-year-old told SBS News this week.
“I would come to training and I would be out of it. Coaches would pull me aside and see my body language and I would just break down.”
“They would say ‘is your father ok?’ And I would just start crying.”
I would come to training and I would be out of it … I would just start crying.
– Sam Wallace
The Goal Shooter moved to Sydney in 2017 to take the next step in her netball career.
But throughout her three-year tenure with the team, she has needed to be in constant contact with her family back home.
Her father suffered his first stroke in 2017 but was still able to walk and complete basic tasks. But earlier this year a second stroke left him unable to do anything physically.
“He just lies on the bed and my brother has to feed him, change him, clothe him, everything,” she said, her eyes starting to fill with tears.
“It’s really hard on my little brother because he is alone and does everything.”
Such is her love and dedication to her father, Wallace has sent thousands of dollars back home to help aid his recovery.
She can see the lighter side of the challenge that poses.
“I’m a girl, I love clothes, shoes and I’m young,” she laughs.
“Everything goes to my father; he needs food, toiletries, wipes and medication.”
“It was hard, but the community we grew up with, some fellas came together and formed a group. They are helping me right now with his medication, so I have the support.”
Wallace also ran a fundraising campaign which enabled her to purchase a new bed for father, and later this month, she will return home to be with him for the remainder of the year.
She is hoping to buy a second-hand car for her brother too.
And there’s another thing Sam is hoping to take back home with her; a Super Netball winners medal.
The Swifts take on two-time defending champions Sunshine Coast Lightning on Sunday.
“To imagine Skyping him after the grand final with the trophy, I think we are going to cry,” Wallace said.
“I called him [after the preliminary final win over the Melbourne Vixens] and I was like ‘Daddy, we won!'”
“His face would just light up and you should have seen the excitement.”
Her family will be following the match in Trinidad and Tobago on their phones.
Victory would see the Swifts end an 11-year title drought.