Woman On Fire

Fanny Balseca - Nominee for My Little Light Award

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In the early 1970’s, together with her husband and four young daughters, Fanny Balseca immigrated to Canada. She had no other family, no friends, no knowledge of the English language, yet she did not allow those barriers to stop her. She overcame anxiety and depression caused by having been separated from her close-knit family in Ecuador. 

She learned enough English to carry on a conversation. She used her seamstress skills to clothe her daughters because there just wasn’t enough money to buy them the dresses she liked. She taught her four young daughters that they could do anything they set their minds to. Most of all, she taught them perseverance by example. Today, her four daughters are professionals living the Canadian dream. Fanny’s unrelenting spirit has inspired countless people in the Latino and Canadian communities.

Her infectious optimism peaked when she was part of a seniors dance group, “Siempre Felices” (Always Joyful) from 2012-2015 (in 2012, she was 72 yrs old). "Siempre Felices" was composed of seniors aged 65 plus, whose objective was to demonstrate they still have much to offer to the community. They practiced once a week and performed numerous times per year at different cultural events throughout the Toronto GTA. Spectators of the dance group were amazed at how well she integrated in a group where she was the oldest member. Sadly, after being hit by a car on May 5, 2015, and suffering a concussion, she had to quit the group. But she will never quit life. Neither will she quit helping and inspiring others to live life and to dance like no one’s watching! 

This year, she will turn 79 and will celebrate her birthday with a party where dancing will be the main event. Fanny loves dancing because she says it keeps her alive.


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