Hello Family & Friends,
I hope this email finds you all in good spirits and kind hearts as we head in to the holiday season.
I am Denise Odom, the mom of Omari Zaire Smoak, an epee fencer, a big dreamer and lover of the sport. I would love nothing more than to be able to give my son the opportunity to follow his dreams and reach one of the highest levels of athleticism in the world of fencing.
Omari’s goals are to compete as a world class fencer both domestically and internationally and prayerfully someday represent TeamUSA as an Olympian. My job as a parent is to nurture those dreams “which do come true” by asking for your help. Your contributions toward this fundraiser would allow him to experience this amazing journey of a life time!
With fencing season upon us and in full effect, I started this GoFundMe page to assist my son in fulfilling those dreams and to allow him to be able to live up to his fullest potential. This GoFundMe was created with the hopes of raising $10K which would cover much of the costs of his 2017-2018 competition expenses. These expenses would include but are not limited to foreign travel to countries such as Heraklion Greece, Sebac Serbia, Verona Italy and a fourth location which is yet to be announced. Additionally, Omari will compete in three North American Cups and the 2018 Junior Olympics. He will also have the opportunity to compete with the best of the best right here on U.S. soil in cities across America. Those cities will include Portland Oregon, Richmond and Virginia Beach Virginia, Memphis Tennessee with a final stop of the season in St. Louis Missouri where he will compete in the 2018 National Championships & July Challenge and where Omari took GOLD this past Summer in the Junior Division in Salt Lake City Utah. He also won a second medal in that same Championship in the Senior Mens Epee Division where he placed 7th.
As many of you may or may not know, for the last ten years of his life, Omari has been extremely passionate about the sport of fencing . He began his fencing career at the age of nine at a New York City based fencing club called the “Peter Westbrook Foundation” and has excelled in the sport ever since. Throughout the fencing season, which runs from September through June, Omari volunteers at the Foundation on Saturday mornings giving back to younger fencers who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to fence due to the expensive costs associated with this elite sport. Omari is still an active member of The Peter Westbrook Foundation which he humbly calls his home base. If it not were for Peter Westbrook, a 1991 Sabre fencer and Olympic bronze medalist and Omari’s first fencing mentor, Omari and other fencers like Omari would never have had the opportunity to learn the art of fencing. Omari has a lot of talent, drive and a great fighting spirit and with your help he will be able to see his dreams come to fruition and represent the USA.
Omari is currently a sophomore at St. John’s University studying television and film and a member of the university’s fencing team. He is also a member of the Fencers Club in NYC which is the oldest fencing club in the United States. His current goal is to make a national fencing team representing TeamUSA and eventually the Olympics. He is currently ranked 8th in the country on the USFA Point Standings in Juniors and ranked in the top 20% in Seniors as well.
With your help, you can assist him in offsetting the costs of these trips where the funds will be used for domestic & international airfare costs, fencing equipment, lodging, food, competition fees, registration fees, an international fencing license and other incidentals. With your help Omari’s dreams can become a reality.
So, as Omari heads off to his next competitions in Portland Oregon and Heraklion Greece in the next couple of weeks, please continue to lift us up in prayer and travel mercies as he embarks on this amazing journey.
Thank you all in advance for your contributions and help and we look forward to more great things to come..
Article about Omari in our hometown paper:
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