Sharing a Moment in the Olympic Spirit

Sharing a Moment in the Olympic Spirit

BC nursing student with special calling carries Olympic torch

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

The Olympic flame now burning in Salt Lake City was helped to its destination by a doctoral student at Boston College's Connell School of Nursing whose own efforts on behalf of patients who cannot speak was illuminated along the way.

Stacey Carroll carried the flame now burning at the Winter Olympics when it passed through Providence on Dec. 26. (Photo courtesy of Stacey Carroll)
Stacey Carroll of Worcester carried the Olympic torch for two-tenths of a mile in Providence on Dec. 26 during the flame's cross-country trek to Salt Lake City for the Feb. 8 opening ceremonies of the Winter Games.

Her husband, Matthew, nominated her to run on the Coca-Cola Olympic Torch Relay Team, citing her balance of full-time nursing studies with volunteer work with the elderly and the hearing-impaired.

Carroll, who is functionally deaf, mentors others who are candidates for cochlear-implant surgery, a procedure she underwent two years ago.

The 29-year-old nurse plans to write her BC doctoral dissertation on the communication experience of patients who are on ventilators and cannot speak.

"Because I communicate by lip-reading and speaking, I am able to interview these patients and allow their voices to be heard," said Carroll.

Carrying the Olympic torch "truly was an experience of a lifetime," she said.

"It was so thrilling. I think it was especially meaningful this year because of the events of Sept. 11. I love the Olympic spirit, and it's so important for that friendly competition to occur in light of the devastating events in September. Unity is necessary at this time of worldwide stress.

"It was so meaningful to be able to carry on that flame, and also to be able to keep the torch. My whole family was there to cheer me on - as were a lot of strangers who just turned out to see the torch go by - which was wonderful.

"It was an incredible feeling to sprint down the road and hear the cheers and know that I was able to be one small part of the Olympic tradition and spirit. It was also wonderful to meet all the other torchbearers and hear their inspirational stories: I was honored to be in their company.

"I did have a dream beforehand that I couldn't hold the torch up and that I blew out the flame, thus ending the nationwide relay - but thankfully none of that happened. The torch was quite heavy, especially when you're sprinting with it.

"I was so proud to represent the USA, my family and friends, the city of Worcester, my original hometown of Princeton, Mass., and Boston College."


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