“You won’t find your dream until you lose your excuses” – Orrin Woodward
Set-backs, tragedy, and resilience mark the journey that has led me here. Today, I look back at all that I've overcome; yet, choose to set my eyes on what's yet to come as I pursue my 2016 Paralympic dream.
Born in Sri Lanka, our family came to America to escape civil strife that plagued our island at the time; more importantly, to seek medical treatment for me for a rare birth defect and bone deformity condition, Melorheostosis with 400 known cases around the world. Our lives in America held much promise and success at the time. After years of surgeries that left me unable to walk, a below the knee amputation became necessary. Unfortunately, this procedure did not go well leaving me, in the end, as an above the knee disarticulation amputee.
Through the years, as I have been in and out of hospitals, enduring numerous surgeries, my family and I have also fought to make ends meet through the ups and downs of owning a business that ultimately folded with the untimely loss of my father to an inoperable and malignant brain tumor . Yet with the strength of my Dad’s spirit in my heart, perseverance and resilience have allowed me to overcome the odds and arrive at where I am today.
Learning that sports fuels self-esteem in the physically challenged, I dreamt big and bold – starting out with competitive swimming. Through generous grants, donations and sponsorships, and learning how to run at age 20, I now have the opportunity to live my dream. I live, breathe and train running.
Nevertheless, funds are still limited. Coming from modest economic circumstances, I cannot reiterate how grateful I am to those individuals who have already contributed to keeping my Paralympic aspirations alive. Currently, I am seeking additional support and generous contributions towards competition expenses for the 2015 track season that includes competing in 7-8 races to be considered a contender. If you had a chance to make sure that a
rising star athlete and an aspiring Paralympian like me right here in Raleigh had what is needed to realize his Paralympic dream, would you stand behind in support of him?
The Paralympics, Desert Challenge Games in Phoenix, AZ (May 15-17) kicks-off the season which I will be competing in -- as I prepare with even greater passion and grit to keep pushing boundaries towards 2016.
Some recent Accomplishments:
Competing in the 2014 meets co-sponsored by the US Paralympic Committee, placing 3rd, 4th and 5th against seasoned athletes and Paralympians – despite setbacks to prosthesis and hamstring issues.
Competing in the 2013 Dessert Challenge Games was a rewarding debut track event where I got Nationally Classified as a T42, and bringing home the bronze; a personal high for a new comer with only six months of training at the time, racing on a low performance leg.