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, my family came to America and settled in Raleigh, North Carolina, 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, 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 North Carolina Central University. Having learned 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 to run at age 22, I now have the opportunity to live my dream. I live, breathe and train running.
Fired up from two qualifying meets that I competed in the 2015 season, the AZ Desert Challenge Games showing modest timings and at the OK City Endeavor Games reflecting consistency whilst also earning the bronze, I am determined and remain focused. At the 2014 season, I placed 5th in the nationals in my category against seasoned athletes, some of whom were Paralympians.
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. I am seeking your continued financial support so that I can run in the Paralympics. To do that, I must continue to train five times a week like an Olympian should, under a professional track coach. The cost of training is $800/- a month. I am training even harder, striving to demonstrate how a positive attitude, focus, and dedicated training can make a difference.
Thank you so much for any and all support. Know that I am a focused and totally dedicated to achieving this goal as I prepare with even greater passion and grit to keep pushing boundaries towards 2016.