Zhenghongs Paralympics Dream

Hi, my name is Zhenghong Schlechte. I was born missing my left hand. My dream is to make it to the Paralympics someday. I am 15 years old and I go to Mahtomedi High School. Ever since I was young I have loved playing sports. When I was eight years old I had the opportunity to go to a Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball Camp (Now known as US Patriots), where I was introduced to many veterans that had lost limbs. WWAST has a saying, “Life without a Limb is Limitless”. Through Shriners Hospital for Children, I’ve had many opportunities to go to camps and go down hill skiing. I liked skiing because you get to go fast and it was easy for me being one-handed. In 8th grade, during quarantine, my parents got the whole family skis so that we could go Cross Country Skiing as a family. I had fun skiing, but I still preferred alpine skiing. Unlike alpine skiing where you use poles for stability and balance, in nordic skiing, poles are used to help you ski faster and win races. For me, Nordic skiing with 1 pole gave me a huge disadvantage from others. My freshman year I was planning on alpine skiing, but my parents convinced me that I should try nordic skiing for a year. My nordic coach was excited to have me skiing. He connected me with a U.S. Para Nordic Ski Coach and ex-Paralympian John Oman. That season I had a lot of fun with my team. I raced JV and did pretty good skiing with only one pole. Visually-impaired Paralympian Max Nelson was also on the nordic team that winter. He was an inspiration to me because he showed me that you can do anything no matter what disability you have. The summer before my sophomore year I became more serious about skiing. I joined Nordic Ski Club Endurance United to train during the summer. Training consisted of roller skiing and dryland training. In July of that summer, I went up to Duluth, Minnesota for a US Para Nordic training camp. There I got to me meet Paralympians with the same disability as me.
This fall, I have been invited to the Canmore Para Nordic Junior Camp, near Alberta, Canada, to train with other kids my age who have a passion for skiing. Would you be willing to donate to this fund to help me? I am responsible for my airfare. Thank you for taking the time to read my story. Any donations would be greatly appreciated.

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Organizer and beneficiary

Zhenghong Schlechte
Oakdale, MN
Sheila Schlechte

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