Thank you for your support. I thought I'd update on top of what I'd written below in light of what's gone on over the last few months. I am finally being given a chance at selection for the Paralympics without discrimination, but they will not support me in any way. My priorities have changed and I haven't trained or had any of the support that would have helped me get to where I'd want to be going in to the biggest race of my life, but I hope to have two weeks of quality coaching, alongside sport psychology and physio support which will get me into the best possible position. I have to do what I can now with what I've got and the situation that I am in. If you don't know the full back story have a look at the links below.
I need to raise £4000 to get the right equipment and support (coaching, sports psych, phsyio) to get me to PyeongChang in the best possible position now. It's been a rollercoaster, and I am angry and hurt with what's happened and how I have been treated, but right now it's time to put that all aside and focus every day on doing everything I can to improve my performance. I won't be going to represent British Parasnowsport, or UK Sport, and it will be no thanks at all to them - but I will be going to represent everyone who has faced something similar to what I've been through. Whether that's sexual assault, discrimination, bullying or any other overwhelming adversity, with your support and kindness I can go and show the world that all of those things can be overcome.
Thank you again and thank you to everyone who has supported this journey in any way, from way back when I turned around and said that I was having my foot amputated, to the friends and kindness, and real humanity, that I found out in St Lucia. It's been a rocky road to face, and I know that's not over, but I hope that what I'm doing here will change things for others even just a little, and if I can inspire one person to push on through challenges then it will all be worthwhile.
Thank you <3
Thank you for looking at my page.
Have a look at the video in the top bit if you don't know anything about my story, but three years ago I had my right foot amputated below the knee following five years of operations and pain after a botched foot and ankle reconstruction following on from club foot complications. I've worked incredibly hard over the last few years and I have now met the GB performance selection criteria for the Paralympics, and in March, I hope to be the first woman to represent GB in parasnowboarding in the Paralympics, and the first to come back with a medal.
However the truth is that it's a lot more complicated than it might appear and it isn't just about losing a leg and snowboarding. I am the only female on the team and I have had to fight every step of the way to get to the point where I will have the opportunity to race at the Paralympics, and I am being respected, listened to and given opportunities despite what has happened.
I have PTSD related to a violent sexual assault a few years ago. Because of this, I was kicked off the team, lost funding, have to fund my own coaching, physio and S&C and had to race independently to qualify for the Paralympics. This is after being told I was a long way off meeting the Paralympic selection criteria and that thought I was better than I really am (I then came 2nd in a World Cuo, meeting the criteria at my first race of the season whilst racing independently with no support or coaching), alongside being told I was not physically strong enough to snowboard and not good enough to train with the boys. (At the time I was this strong... https://www.facebook.com/cassie.cava/videos/10156550206254358/ )
UK Sport have decribed my with PTSD as "behavioural issues" and have said that is why I lost my funding.
Getting to the Paralympics is a massive goal and it's crazy to think that two years ago this was a total dream and a million miles away, but with the support and total belief of so many people I have pushed hard on and off snow and have somehow got to the point where I have met the performance ctieria for the Paralympics! With your support I will be able to get to the Paralympics and make history.
I feel totally honoured that so many people have believed in me and supported me up to this point. Now I want to be entirely honest with everyone about what is going on. I have felt that I had to hide the truth for so long, but now I really don't think that struggling with the effects of being raped should stop me from getting to the Paralympics. However, because of this and because of the treatment I have had from British Parasnowsport over the last 6 months, I have massive extra expenses and really need help.
Money is a huge struggle because I was kicked off the team last July. I lost my UK Sport funding in April, whilst unable to race due to being in psychiatric hospital. Had I had a physical injury I wouldn't have lost funding, but because I was hospitalised due to a mental health problem, the performance director stopped funding me. With the support of the British Athlete Commission, UK Sport realised what had happened and ensured I got some of this back, but £5000 will cover the holding camp at the Paralympics for me and someone as support, alongside the training I did in October, but nothing else.
I need to raise money to cover a variety of costs explained below.
- Fund coaching in January so I can get back on snow following a complex wrist fracture, and get to the best possible level snowboarding and confidence wise. I have to pay for coaching separately because British Parasnowsport will not support me with it, so the team coach can "focus on the boys", in the words of the Performance Director.
- Fund equipment for the season
- Race the World Cup Finals in Canada, and fund taking support out with me to prove that this support can work at the Paralympics. Having support will mean that I am not the only female in this environment which is crucial because British Parasnowsport are not willing to do anything to help me feel safe and supported.
- Fund the Paralympic Holding Camp for me and support through that, to adjust to the time zone and be able to go into the Paralympics strong and ready to perform at my best.
Life has been unbearable and I would the first person to tell you that. But because of kindness and love of so many I know that there is a way through this and that despite what has happened I can still go on to compete in PyeongChang 2018.
One day British Parasnowsport will pay for the damage they have caused, but right now I want to find a way of training, racing and fulfilling my potential. British Triathlon have taken the view that I am not a burden or a problem that they can't solve, and that I am still worthy of the same opportunities as everyone else, and I have thrived in that environment and it has been so empowering and so healing, which proves to me that I can still snowboard and race and fulfill my potential in this sport.
Thank you very much,
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