Help me compete in Wheelchair Rugby

Hey there to anyone who's reading this (assuming anyone actually does)!

For those of you who like it short and sweet; my name is Thomas Moylan, I'm 19 and I am trying to fund a new Wheelchair Rugby sports wheelchair. I have outgrown my current chair and a new one will allow me to reach many personal and professional goals, as well as improve the quality of my life as it would allow me to play the sport I love.

Now for anyone who wants a little more backstory, here we go.

My name is Thomas Moylan. I'm 19 years old and I play Wheelchair Rugby, aka Murderball. Now while some of you might know of it or have even seen it played, others may be asking themselves "is that a thing?". You bet it is and I've been fortunate to be a part of this amazing sport for the last five years.

I was born in Dublin with a condition called ABS and no, unfortunately it was not the Ryan Gosling kind. Nope, this was Amniotic Band Syndrome which means that during development in the womb limbs become amputated by small, rubber like bands formed in the Amniotic fluid. So as a result, I was born without feet and missing most of my fingers. Take that Gosling!

At 14 I discovered wheelchair rugby and my mind was utterly blown. It combined the skill and precision of basketball with the contact, attitude and passion of rugby. Cha-Ching! I'd found something I had a talent for, other than being able to devour a whole pizza by myself.

This sport has always been there for me and has helped develop me into the man I am today. I owe I huge amount to it (and the many people who helped me along the way. Looking at you Julie) and hope to be competing until I'm old and grey. It's given me the opportunity to represent my country on the international stage, as in 2015 I was a part of the Irish squad that competed in the European Championships. I was also honoured to voted MVP of the tournament by my fellow players.

2015 was a great year for me! 2016... hmm not so much. I kept having this stabbing pain in my ankles that was getting worse by the day, up until the point where I could no longer walk. Years of walking on legs that were, to politely put it, more than a little bit messed up had finally taken its toll. My ankles at this point were facing the wrong way, kinda like they'd had an arguement and weren't talking anymore. The choice was given to me; have them amputated further up, just below the knee or keep them and be in ALL of the pain ALL the time. Great selection of choices there, I know. So I took the plunge and got significantly shorter and lighter over night. Recovery wasn't fun to say the least, but what really killed me was how long I was being kept away from rugby for.

I wanted to get back to competition so badly. My old rugby chair which I had gotten when I was 16 had to be changed and modified, because it was made for someone who had legs and all of a sudden I did not. I changed what I could and made adaptions but it never fit the same.

I still couldn't get back to rugby because I had to finish school and exams which as you can imagine took up about, oh I don't know... 460% of my time. I was pulling my hair out during this period but then outta nowhere, I get an e-mail from the Coach of the Texas Stampede wheelchair rugby team (he also coaches the US team) asking me to come and play in the States for a season with his team, Texas Stampede. As you can imagine I almost broke my phone with how quickly I replied yes to that.

So I finished my exams, worked the rest of the summer to be able to afford living in Texas and when October of this year rolled around I packed my bags, said goodbye to the family and here I am today.

I love the team here and I've been fortunate enough to compete in very high level competition, such as The Best in the West tournament in San Diego.

But the issue of my chair still remains. I'm a 19 year old with no legs using the chair of a 16 year old who had legs and there's a lot wrong with that. I look a bit like an elephant on a unicycle. So I'm here to ask for help in purchasing a new Vesco Rugby chair. This would help me to achieve my potential and be the player that I should be. Rugby has given me so much and even at this point in my life when I don't have much of my own, I want to keep competing. But to do that I need your help, so if you could please make any sort of small donation that would be appreciated and will get me one step closer to achieving my dream of one day playing in the Paralympic Games.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, because god I really went on for a bit there didn't I? But seriously, thanks.

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Organizer and beneficiary

Thomas Moylan 
Round Rock, TX
James Gumbert 
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