AC JosepH Media
MOUNT LAUREL — South Jersey’s Priscilla Frederick-Loomis knows the long, hard road to the Olympics is not always paved in gold or lined with riches.
So when a chance meeting with Rowan College of Burlington County dental hygiene student Amy Deluhery came out, it led to the Olympian making an hour-plus drive from her home in Wildwood to the RCBC campus in Mount Laurel for a free dental cleaning.
Once Deluhery listened to Frederick-Loomis’ podcast about the financial struggles of Olympic athletes, especially after the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics because of the coronavirus, she reached out.
Making Human Connection
This is a story about more than dental hygiene, but perseverance and making human connections despite difficulties amid the pandemic.
“She talked on the podcast about how she’s saving nickels and dimes to make it to the 2021 Summer Olympics and continues to work toward her dream,” Deluhery said in a post released by RCBC. “So I reached out to her via Instagram and explained that I’m currently in dental hygiene school, and I would give her full dental hygiene care for free if she was interested.”
Fredrick-Loomis, 32, who ran track at Paul VI High School in Haddonfield is a world-class high jumper and competed for Antigua and Barbuda, where her father is a native, in the 2016 Olympics. She plans on competing for the country again at this summer’s games.
She talked to NJ.com in February about cleaning homes to earn enough money to train and compete. The truth is big money endorsement deals are reserved for the very few, big-name Olympic athletes. The vast majority of Olympians hold down full time jobs and side hustles to see their athletic dreams come true.
That was why Deluhery’s invitation meant so much to Frederick-Loomis.
“I knew she was a dental student, and I wanted to help her out in any way I could,” Frederick-Loomis told RCBC. “I had been researching Invisalign, and she informed me that it’s always important to upkeep dental hygiene before considering orthodontic work.”
The star athlete has received x-rays, a full cleaning and there are plans in the works for a polishing at the college’s Dental Hygiene Clinic.
“The experience has been incredible,” Frederick-Loomis said. “Everyone has been an absolute pleasure. Amy and her supervisors have been very helpful and informative, and they have taught me better ways to take care of my teeth.”
Frederick-Loomis has already dealt with her share of hardships this season. She came down with the coronavirus in January. Having now recovered with the help of her husband Ken Loomis, a teacher and football coach at Wildwood High School, she’s hoping that the Olympics won’t be postponed again, or cancelled all together.
Plenty of Challenges
“I’ve faced a lot of challenges throughout this journey,” Frederick-Loomis said. “Racism, financial hardships, not being sponsored, body image issues, mental and physical distress, just to name a few, but it also helped me grow and appreciate the life I’ve been given.”
Along with a GoFundMe page, Frederick-Loomis has her own nonprofit, the Pricilla E. Frederick Foundation, hosts a morning radio show and does her own podcast with her husband as co-host.
“We cover everything we go through in our marriage, as well as celebrity news, world news, sports and more,” Frederick-Loomis said. “Nothing is off-limits. We also have the opportunity to interview guests about their journeys to success and ask if they are in the prime of their life. Nick Wright, Marcellus Wiley and Tara Schuster have been our first three guests, but we also have Olympic coaches, Nike athletes, actresses and musicians in our upcoming lineup, so we are excited for this journey.”
She would like to start stunt school and pursue an acting career appearing in Marvel films. She also wants to take part in the 2022 Winter Olympics in the bobsledding competition, where speed and athleticism are key ingredients.
“Stay confident in your journey, and don’t allow other people’s opinions of you to affect you; other people’s opinions are none of your business,” Frederick-Loomis said. “Be courageous and chase after everything you want. Easy will never get you your dreams; be prepared for tough lessons, but know every lesson makes you stronger and ready for when you arrive at your dreams.”
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