Broadcaster Tamara Taggart spoke to a sold-out audience for the Find Your Divine event in Castlegar last night. It happened past our deadline, so we’ll bring you photos from the event next week.
But ahead of her appearance, we asked Taggart a few questions to get to know her a little better. Taggart is the weekday anchor of CTV News in Vancouver. Below, she shares some of the triumphs and tragedies of her life.
What drew you to broadcasting?
After I graduated from high school I worked for a couple of years at various jobs, searching for my perfect career.
I wanted a job that kept me on my toes, made me happy and connected me to others — radio and television became the obvious choice for me.
I love my job and feel fortunate to have a career that continues to challenge me.
Have you ever been to the Kootenays?
Oh yes, many times! My mom lived in Newgate for years, so there were lots of visits to her farm. When I was a kid my family camped a lot, some of our best adventures were in the Kootenays.
Could you give us a preview of your speech?
When my son Beckett was five days old we were told by doctors that he has Down syndrome.
Four years later I was told I had a rare cancer. Those two experiences taught me how to be an advocate, for my son and for myself. It’s not easy to be your own advocate but it’s vital; it can save your life.
I have learned quite a few lessons over the last seven years and I want to share them. I want every woman to feel empowered and confident when it comes to their health and the health of their families.
How did it feel to take the last dose of your cancer medication?
So good … and a little bit terrifying. After three years it had become such a habit, one that I was happy to break.
What is the biggest challenge of having a child with Down syndrome?
Probably changing other people’s views on what it means to have Down syndrome.
In my experience there seems to be a misunderstanding about what people with disabilities have to offer the rest of the world. My son Beckett is just like any other child: he’s happy, funny, curious and bright. Down syndrome doesn’t define a person. My son is so much more than his extra chromosome.
What is the biggest blessing of having a child with Down syndrome?
Beckett is a wonderful boy, and my daughters Zoë and Poppy are amazing girls. We don’t think about Down syndrome too often in our house.
We’re just a regular family with three energetic kids. Beckett has taught me patience and a true understanding that things all work out in due time.