In 2002, at age 7, I learned to ski. It gave me a joy and a freedom that is indescribable. Since then, I have taken every opportunity to get on the slopes and push myself to improve.
In 2018, at age 23, I trained to become a ski instructor. I was successful in my training and it took my skiing to the next level. I spent the 2018/2019 winter season teaching skiing in Vancouver. Around this time, a number of people suggested to me that I should consider competing. So I began to look into what it would take to get to the Paralympics.
Throughout the winter of 2018/2019, I contacted the Irish sport bodies to inquire what would be involved in starting a Paralympic campaign. This led nowhere. I soon learned that there has never been a winter para athlete from Ireland and that I would have to find my own way if I wanted to compete.
In 2019, while taking a course on teaching adaptive skiing (skiing for people with different abilities) I was put in touch with the director of Rocky Mountain Adaptive, the adaptive ski school based in Canmore, a town in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. I asked him to point me in the right direction for what was necessary to begin a campaign and he invited me to come to the Rockies to join their development team of athletes training towards the 2022 Beijing Paralympics. I immediately took him up on his offer.
So this is where I am now. I have arrived in Canmore and will start training full time in mid November.
However, the training isn't free. As I'll be training five days a week, I'll have limited time to work to support myself. This is where I need your help. To allow me to train, I need to raise the money for the cost of the training, accommodation, travel to and accommodation at races, race entry fees and insurance.
This season I plan to build a reputation as a serious racer and start to get ranked to prove that I am Paralympic material. After that, I may be able to apply for grants and support from official bodies but until then, I'm on my own.
So I ask that you please give whatever you can towards getting me off the ground this season and starting the journey to Beijing 2022!
If you have any questions regarding the campaign please don't hesitate to contact me through GoFundMe.
Stay tuned here for updates on my progress and aÂ huge thank you in advance for any help you can give!
- Ian Harper
- DBA Publications Ltd
- Nicu Diaconu
- St Conleth's Ppu
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