A Lao girl who DREAMS BIG!
Hello. My name is Channing Cash. Here is my story.
I was born in Laos in 1978 where people were self-sufficient and farmed their own land to feed their families and animals. My father was in the military and like most people in my country, my mother and grandparents were part of the farming culture. We took nothing for granted and were happy to live the life that we did. We didn't have much, but we were content. In the town where we lived, it wasn't uncommon to find cows, bulls, chickens, pigs, and other animals that were used to help us live. We were so used to having the animals around that we didn't often blink an eye if one escaped from the fencing. Until one day a runaway bull changed my life forever.
There's a saying that goes, "I feel like I was hit by a bus!" In my case, I was run over by an escaped bull at the age of 3. I was sitting on the ground playing with other kids in the village. All of a sudden I saw people getting up, running, and screaming. My back was turned away from the bull, so I didn't get a chance to react because it happened so fast. Throwing me up in the air like a rag doll, the bull showed no mercy. I fell to the ground and then he came back and stomped on my left hip. The pain was excruciating, and I learned that I broke my back and shattered my hip.
In Laos you can't just call 911 and expect an ambulance to show up to take you to the high-tech hospital. Things are simple there and healthcare isn't the same as it is here in the United States. I was immediately taken to the monk's village home for a blessing. Laos is a very spiritual country where the natives believe in self-healing and miracles. The only thing that may have saved me was that village elders made me a handmade cast casing, so my back and hip would somewhat heal. There wasn't really any professional medical care given at the time.
Two years after my injury my parents decided it was best to pick up our family and move to the United States. They wanted me to have better access to doctors and treatments that would keep me healthy. We had a lot of difficulty getting out of the country and had to fight every step of the way. My parents didn't give up though, and for that I am forever grateful. When we first came here we lived in Illinois. After all the years of pushing myself in the snow. I realized I need to be somewhere that is more wheelchair friendly and has no snow. This had lead me to southern California.
When I am not racing or training, these are other sports I truly enjoyed.
Skiing in Utah
Handcycle off-roading on trails.
Rowing into the sunset in Long Beach, California
Surfing in Huntington Beach, California
110 miles bike challenge with World TEAM Sports
To say this changed my life forever is an understatement. I look back and I could still be living in a third world country. When something is taken away from you such as little things like the feeling of water and sand touching your toes. Now means the world to you. The water is a magical place for me. Its a sense of freedom. I no longer look at my disability as a negative thing. It has bought me more opportunities than I could even ask for. This journey has taught me self-confidence and that life can be "wheelie" awesome again. This is a blessing in disguise.
Now this is where I need your help. Being a Adaptive Athlete is very expensive. Why is it expensive? Let me share. It is not just about having a club member dues, competition fees, airfares, lodging, boat transportations, and etc. With my disability I need a wheelchair. Average wheelchairs are easily $5000 and plus. Doctor's visit just to get an evaluation to be able to compete in sprint kayaking is another bill. A lot of paperworks goes into this sport. Therefore, more than one doctor's visit creating more bills. My boat and other adaptions such as seating, paddle, footplate, and etc is roughly $5500 and plus. When I first started this sport of Paracanoe. I spent 90% of my time adapting and modifying my boat to make it work. So its not where you just get in as a normal athlete and just go. Also, training and traveling requires me to drive to and from. My vehicle must have hand-controls $1500 and a lift $4300 to load and unload my wheelchair. These are just a few things which makes it very costly.I have competed in several races in the US.
I just did my first international race at the Pan American Championship in Nova Scotia. I am proud to say I took 2nd place with a silver medal in the women's 200 KL2 race. My next move will be aiming to be good enough to make a splash to the Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan 2020. Every dollar counts. Sharing this read with your friends and family is greatly appreciated! Thank you for supporting this Lao girl dreaming BIG in America! #TeamUSA
Ted Hauk Regatta in Seattle, Washington paddling first place in gold!
Taking Gold at National Championship in Oklahoma City!
Proud to say I made TeamUSA!
Proudly taking Silver (2nd place) medal at my 1st international race at Pan American Championship in Nova Scotia.
Hano Hano Paddle Challenge in San Diego, California