“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, and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, my family brought me to the USA to seek medical treatment for a rare birth defect and bone deformity condition, Melorheostosis, that I was afflicted with. Our lives in America held much promise and success at the time. After years of surgeries leaving me unable to walk, a below knee amputation became necessary. Unfortu-nately, this procedure did not go well leaving me, in the end, an above 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 to arrive at where I am today.
A graduate of Broughton High, I am currently a student at NCCU. Learning that sports fuels self-esteem in the physically challenged, I started out with competitive swimming. Through generous grants, donations and sponsorships, and after learning how to run at age 22, I now have the opportunity to live my dream. I live, breathe and train running.
Having started professional track in 2013 and earning my first bronze that same year, I placed 5th at the 2014 Nationals in my category against seasoned athletes, some of whom were Paralympians. Fired up from racing in two qualifying meets in the 2015 season, and earning bronze, my times reflect consistency. I remain keenly focused and determined, training even harder to make the team.
Coming from modest economic circumstances, I strive to demonstrate how a positive attitude, focus, and dedication can make a difference whilst being a full-time student, full-time athlete and part-time employed. Training is grueling and the cost of equipment, coaching and proper nutrition; costly. Olympic and Paralympic athletes like me rely on the support of friends and well-wishers like you to stand behind them, believe in them, and help them reach their highest potential. It takes a community to get an athlete to the Games. And that’s the community you’re a part of. I am asking for your help so that I can run in the Paralympics. Every bit is greatly appreciated. Thank you so much for any and all support, as I prepare with even greater passion and grit to keep pushing boundaries towards 2016.