LifeEmpowered - Road To Paralympics
“You won’t find your dream until you lose your excuses” – Orrin Woodward
You won’t find your dream until you lose your excuses” – Orrin Woodward
To dream the impossible dream…to reach the unreachable stars… I look back at all that I have overcome, yet choose to set my eyes as I pursue my quest…the 2016 Paralympic Games.
Born in Sri Lanka and raised in Raleigh, North Carolina, my parents brought me to the USA to seek medical treatment for me for a rare birth defect and bone deformity condition, Melorheostosis. After years of surgery leaving me unable to walk, a below 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, the sole breadwinner of our family to an inoperable and malignant brain tumor; causing the family severe economic hardship. 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.
As a graduate of Broughton High and a final year business school undergrad at NCCU, I am a fearless striver, having started out with competitive swimming upon learning that sports fuels self esteem in the physically challenged. 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.
Starting professional track in 2013; earning my first bronze that same year and, at the 2014 US Paralympic National Championships, placing 5th in my category, against seasoned athletes some of whom were Paralympians, I remain driven; toiling on the tracks a minimum five days a week, training with purpose and strategy ever more determined to make the team. Fired up from racing in the 2015 season that reflected consistency and improvement, I am currently training for the international circuit that starts mid-September; vying for a spot to compete in the 2015 World Games.
Coming from modest economic circumstances, I strive to demonstrate how a positive attitude, focus, and dedication can make a difference: being full-time student, full-time athlete and part-time employed. Training is grueling; cost of equipment, proper nutrition and professional coaching - costly. Training and competing are essential ingredients in Paralympics. I am relying on friends and well-wishers like you to stand behind me, believe in me and help me reach my 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.