My name is Rachelle Cook. I’m a college student, athlete and heart patient. When I was 15 I was diagnosed with a heart condition and told that I would never row again. It certainly seemed like the end but little did I know that this was instead a beginning. It was the beginning of me realizing, and finding, strength buried deep inside me. To quote Muhammad Ali, “Champions aren’t made in the gym. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” Champions may not be the strongest or the fastest, they are those with an indomitable will that refuses to be defeated.
Later that year I had surgery so that I would be allowed to row again. My will has been challenged by people trying to keep me from rowing. My dream, however, is that no child will ever have to feel how I did after diagnosis: powerless.
I'm attempting to break the world record for the fastest time to row the entire Mississippi river (all 2,320 miles) - solo. Many have traversed the river but no man, woman or person with a heart condition has tried to do it for time. I want this to show little girls that they can be strong and powerful, and that sports and adventures aren’t just for the boys. I want this to show kids with heart conditions like mine that they don’t need to give up on their dreams, and they can do amazing things just like anyone else.
To be able to break this record I will need many supplies including (but not limited to) a boat, oars, electrolyte supplements, GPS equipment, and enough food to fuel my over 5,000 calories burned. The boat and oars being the most important and most expensive. This is where I need help. I can do the work and the training but without a boat and supplies I will not succeed.
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