I have been speedskating for fifteen years, and for fifteen years my parents, Mike and Diana Todd, have been behind me every single step of the way. While I may have been the one putting in all the time on the ice, I would not be on my way to represent Team USA in Sochi without the support of mom and pops.
I was born in Omaha, Nebraska and got my start in the sport after seeing a flyer inviting youth to try skating with the local club. Within a year I was dreaming about one day racing on the world's greatest competitive stage. At the age of nine, I convinced my parents to move me to Milwaukee, Wisconsin so I could train at the Pettit National Ice Center, a mecca for US speedskaters.
My mom made the move full-time while my dad, a (now retired) Omaha firefighter, would make the 1000-mile round trip drive every ten days to spend his six off days with me and mom. At that age, I didn't fully appreciate the sacrifices they were making so their little girl could MAYBE one day go to the Olympics. My mom was incredibly homesick and she missed her family terribly. Every bone in her body hated the cold Wisconsin weather and the cold of the ice rink. My dad spent a significant amount of time away from my mom and I over all those years so that he could continue to pay the skating bills.
In May of 2012, I accepted my first National Team invite and mom and dad helped me move yet again, this time to the United States' new epicenter of speedskating: Salt Lake City, Utah. At this point, dad was recently retired from the Omaha Fire Department, mom had moved back to Nebraska, and they were five months in to their new, happy life as nomads living full-time in an RV.
They parked their new home in nearby Heber, Utah for my first couple of months out west to keep me company and make sure I was handling the move ok. When they realized their little girl was all grown up and didn't need them in her backyard, they peaced out for warmer climates.
This past summer, my parents sold the RV and permanently settled in northeastern Texas. For my birthday they sent me my favorite present to date- a glorious family portrait:
And that brings us to today. After fifteen years of sacrifices from the two most fantastic people I know, the ultimate dream has come true: their daughter is Olympic-bound.
I now ask the greatest favor I can imagine from everyone I know:
Please help ease the financial burden of their trip to Sochi, Russia.
If there is one thing I can do for my parents (other than making them so proud their faces turn into waterfalls) it is this.
The following is a break-down of the major costs of their trip:
Airfare for both: $3,000
Hotel in Sochi for 4 nights: $1,224
Russian visas: $300/ea
After paying for fifteen years worth of coaching, skating equipment, travel to races, and entry fees for competitions; I promise you that every little bit helps them.
THANK YOU SO MUCH to all of you.
WE DID IT! :)
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