Summer Sports

Karina LeBlanc issues appeal for help as native Dominica recovers from Hurricane Maria

Former Canadian national soccer team goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc took to social media with an appeal for help as she tried to connect with her grandmother and other family members on the hurricane-ravaged island of Dominica.

Canadian goalkeeper grew up on Caribbean island, still has family there

Karina LeBlanc, who was raised in Dominica until she was eight, issued an appeal for help after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. (Jason Franson, File/The Canadian Press)

Former Canadian national soccer team goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc took to social media to plead for help in finding her grandmother, who was one of the many people displaced when Hurricane Maria recently ravaged the Caribbean island of Dominica.

LeBlanc, who currently works with CBC Sports as a host, posted over the weekend that she was trying to connect with her grandmother and other family members on the island. "We are getting closer to finding my grandmother and other family members as communication is slower getting across the country," LeBlanc said in an Instagram post on Sunday.

UPDATE: LeBlanc sent out an Instagram post on Friday Sept. 29 saying she had located her grandmother and other family.

LeBlanc joined other professional athletes in advocating for support for people in the Caribbean who were affected by the recent hurricanes.

The London 2012 Olympics bronze medallist was raised in Dominica before moving to Maple Ridge, B.C.

"This is near and dear to my heart," LeBlanc said in an Instagram video posted on Tuesday. LeBlanc, a UNICEF ambassador, also announced her campaign with the organization to raise funds for Maria relief in Dominica. 

Hurricane Maria swept over Dominica last week with winds of 257 kilometres per hour (160 miles per hour), killing 15 people. Roosevelt Skerrit, the country's prime minister, told the UN General Assembly on Saturday that "the desolation is beyond imagination."

Many current and former professional athletes with connections to the Caribbean have been impacted by the recent hurricanes. Five-time NBA champion Tim Duncan, who is originally from the U.S. Virgin Islands, issued an appeal in The Players' Tribune following the devastation of Hurricane Irma.

Many Major League Baseball players from Puerto Rico, including Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa, have written messages of support on their hats in solidarity with their families and friends on the island. The Astros have also been actively involved in relief efforts following Harvey's devastation in Texas.

With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press


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