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After mom’s death, B.C.’s Hill sisters launch fundraiser for skate championships trip

Top-ranked Katerina Hill becomes legal guardian of siblings after mom’s death, now all three compete
Katerina Hill (left), her sister Rose Hill (middle) and sister Taysia Hill have launched a fundraiser to travel to the Philippines next month to compete at the World Skate Championships. (Submitted)

As the top-ranked Canadian woman in the sport of downhill skateboarding, Abbotsford’s Katerina Hill is used to dealing with the bumps, obstacles and challenges she faces when competing.

But her life off the course took an unexpected twist last summer when her mother succumbed to cancer and the 22-year-old was tasked with taking on the role of legal guardian to her two younger sisters.

Along with her partner, she now cooks, cleans and provides for 17-year-old Rose and 11-year-old Taisya. She gets them ready for school, helps with homework and tries to ensure as normal a life as possible.

However, Katerina couldn’t give up the sport she loves. She continued training on local hills, competing at events all across the continent and ended up bringing her sisters along.

And a funny thing happened – Rose and Taisya began literally following her path and are now considered some of the best in Canada for their age in street luge.

Katerina and Rose rank first for Canadian women in downhill skateboarding and street luge respectively and have qualified for the 2023 World Skate Championships, which occur in the Philippines from Feb. 22 to 25.

The only problem is the travel to get there is expensive and with athletes in her sport mostly self-funded, Katerina has launched a GoFundMe to help the Hill girls make the trip. The fundraiser has a $20,000 goal and will also allow them to travel to the 2024 WSC event, which they have also qualified for, in Italy later this year.

Katerina previously attended the 2022 World Skate Games in Argentina and placed sixth in the world. She said getting to represent Canada along with her sisters after such a tumultuous year would be a dream come true.

“It would be really amazing to be able to compete there,” she said. “I feel like it’d be such a great learning experience for the kids too, just to be in a new type of culture.”

Rose said watching her sister and the success she had inspired her.

“When Kat started downhill I wanted to join her,” she said, adding that she attended a local practice to get started. “I didn’t really like stand-up [downhill] as much, but when I saw street luge I got so interested and just thought ‘oh my goodness I’ve got to do that’.”

After several months of practices, some bumps and bruises and determination, Rose climbed to the top spot for women in street luge in Canada.

“That took me a long time and lots of crashes,” she said, laughing.

“She doesn’t seem to have any fear,” Katerina said of her sister. “She just goes full speed into corners and she has done so extraordinarily well.”

She added that Rose has an advantage on her because she’s starting at a younger age. Katerina didn’t get into her sport until she was 19. Taisya at age 11 is also showing a lot of promise. It’s unclear if she would be able to compete at the championships, but the experience and being with her sisters would be more than worth it.

Perhaps the bigger adjustment has been home life. Rose said she enjoys having her big sister as her guardian and appreciates the freedom and space that Katerina gives her.

For Katerina, the challenge became not only welcoming her sisters into her life and home, but also accepting the decision her mother made that ultimately cost her life at the age of 55. The Hill’s mom declined chemotherapy due to religious reasons and Katerina said that decision drastically altered her life and the life of her siblings. Their father had already died five years prior.

“I was very torn up about it,” she said. “I’m the type of person who does their best to respect other people’s decisions but her choice to not partake in chemo did have a tremendous effect on us. My mom was a firm believer in natural medicine and was against chemo. I tried my best to support her and I hoped that her route would work. Near the end she started to consider chemo, but at that point the doctors said her body wouldn’t be able to handle it.”

Katerina said her mom discussed guardianship with her for months and believed she left her younger daughters in the best situation possible.

RELATED: Abbotsford’s Katerina Hill sliding into World Skate Games

Another big help for the Hill sisters has been Katerina’s employer. She works full-time for the Abbotsford-based Icon Drywall as a labourer and said her boss Jason Unruh has been very supportive. She said he is always understanding when she needs time off and has also provided the family with health benefits.

“I’m very thankful for him,” she said.

Katerina said the goal is to make her country proud.

“Being able to represent Canada is a huge deal to us and we believe it shouldn’t be taken lightly,” she said. “We have been doing our best to be able to represent Canada to the best of our abilities and training as hard as possible.”

The fundraiser can be found at

RELATED: Abbotsford’s Katerina Hill places sixth at World Skate Games

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Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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