Raising money to live a dream!
Realizing I only had one year to learn how to snowboard, train and qualify for the 2018 Paralympics I got to work. Some shot me down saying it's to big of a glass to fill, and indeed it is a big glass to fill but to me the glass is was already half full. Exactly a year ago today I stepped on snow in Utah for the first time, hiking up closed Brighton resort to ride the snow under a snow gun.
Making ends meet:
Working to make ends meet, I worked at a local snowboard shop to pay the bills and learn more about snowboarding. The job also came with a perk of receiving a mountain pass, this was my way to get on the hill. Learning the lay of the land I was snowboarding everyday that I could. At the end of the season i heard about the US nationals boardercross race in copper mountain Colorado. Realizing the opportunity I had to go. After competing & landing some solid runs I began talking with the US Paralympic snowboard coaches.
The first World Cup of the games season was New Zealand. Knowing a good result would put me a step ahead for meeting qualifying criteria i wanted to go. Working hard saving money, fundraising and applying for scholarships/grants I put together a budget that was tight but do able. New Zealand was my first time ever leaving the US. Making my international debut and attending my first World Cup, I was stoked to podium 1st both days. This helped me reach some of the criteria needed to attend the games.
Back to work:
Shortly after New Zealand, the next chain of world cups/ qualifiers was listed. Two banked slalom world cups in Langraaf Netherlands and two snowboardcross world cups in Phya Finland. With my lack of funding I was back to square one. Working hard to make the budget to fund Europe's comps. Amazingly people stepped in to help out of there willing spirit. I was then connected through a buddy to provide a speaking service in exchange for the funds needed for the comps.
Europe was a great experiance. Unfortunately i suffered huge prosthesis issues while there. Fighting everyday to keep my prosthesis on. The fit to a proper prosthetic is key for everything. Although the World Cups wouldn't wait for me. Thankfully some team mates helped me with a temporary solution that got me by.
Competing in landgraf was cool my first time ever snowboarding inside. Even with my socket issues I had fun and learned a ton! All in all I am very excited on my riding there! The first two days I was struggling and didn't finish strong. However on the 3rd day I was able to sort out a better line and At the end of the day I was pumped to land a 3rd place finish!
Arriving in Finland was beautiful! All the snow everywhere and seeing the place where Santa clause is from set the spirit!
After a week of training on the hill, it was time for the first snowboard cross event of the season. The two boardercross competitions where important because of the results needed to make the 2018 Paralympics.
Racing at my first ever snowboard cross World Cup the head to head racing was rubbin! Everyone brought there all and was riding strong. the two days were great! Making it to the big finals both days I was racing my US team mate Mike Schultz. Mike Schultz has made it possible, mike is the guy who made the moto knee and versa foot prosthetic most of us use to snowboard. Truly amazing to ride along side of him, both days we swept the podium 1st and 2nd for America! I took silver both days! Meeting a big part of the needed criteria for the games!
Dreams to commitments:
Today, a year later to the date that I first stepped on snow in Utah. I have learned That I have met all qualifications to compete at the 2018 Paralympic games!! Since coach told me I have been speechless!! I learned to see a glass as half full rather than half empty.
(Official invitations go out in feb)
I am so pumped!! knowing that I will be representing the United States of America at the 2018 Paralympic games!!
Thank you everyone for your love and support! Without your help none of this would have been possible. From the go fund me donations to the prayers and all the way across the board! From my spirit to yours Namaste ♥️ Looking forward to a beautiful career doing what I love! For all who believes the glass is half full raise up! cheers!! ♥️
all in all I am excited to say that I made it to New Zealand!
Here's a update from the New Zealand competition!
New Zealand was amazing to say the least. Being my first place to go out of the states, New Zealand has become a home away from home!
Making my international debut, there where two days of competition. These events were apart of the Audi Quattro series. Both of these events was my first time at a official Banked slalom competition.
Day one was the southern hemisphere cup. A qualification day for the World Cup. My goal was to have fun! Make memories, learn what i can and ride the best i can. At the ending of the race, i learned that not only did i qualify for the world cup, but I took gold!
On World Cup day my goals where similar, only the best can come from smiles and fun! With 10 Countries attending it made for a epic race. After finishing my last run, my excitement was lit again as i saw my name was first! A great way to start my first competing season, leaving New Zealand with two gold medals!
This event was labeled as a Paralympic qualifier. And although I won both days, nothing is set in stone. Because I am still new to the sport I am working with a point system. Words from the US Paralympic snowboard coach "I want to see you at every competition this season" I am working hard to make it happen! If I can make similar results at the next competition as to New Zealand's. I will officially be named to the US Snowboard team!
I hope this can share a smile! Thank you to all who have sent prayers, donated and supported me in making my snowboarding a reality!
The newest information that i have received has put me into all wheel drive.
I have learned about the events that i must attend to make my snowboarding career a reality. there is a international classification event at the new Zealand world cup at the beginning of the season. now being that this is a Paralympic year approaching everyone will be there. I believe that my drive & determination will help lead me to success, I am currently all in making a plan to create the results i need to see in new Zealand. with some help i have come up with an overall estimate for costs set that's needed for me to appear! my total is going to be about 3000 and i have no worries because im confident we will make it. I am currently working two jobs although this will not be enough. i see a bolder way to work together to achieve ultimate success in all of our lives. I was taught when growing up that A tree has no flowers without its roots. I am picking up a 3rd and maybe a 4th job to land my board where its needed. Even so i cant do this alone. I will need all of your help, ideas & support to make the funds required for the world cup. I know we are making the world a better place in the simplest ways. although i am still sharing what I can do, are you sharing what you can do?
This season has been A achievement of its self. Its a honor to mention the opportunity I had of sharing my story at the red ,white , and snow event in early march. I was presented the privilege of the guest speaker for the evening, at the event I seen new faces as well as raised funds for the national ability center!
This seasons training successfully led me to the IPC national championship in copper Colorado. While in copper I competed on my first ever boarder cross course! Although I was not classified nor racing in my correct international Paralympic classification, I felt good of my overall performance.
Later I was informed that I impressed a few of the team USA coaches. After speaking to the head coach and sharing some of my future goals, we are now looking into all requirements needed for next season's games. But before anything I will need to podium and some of the World Cup's to make the 2018 USA Paralympic team!
For this summer I am going to eat, sleep, and drink cross-training. my cross training will be heavy with building myself and body. My summer job will be working with the national ability center a part of the universal staff helping others with disabilities! I am going to also apply for different scholarships as well as save as many funds as I personally can because next season I will require more funds to compete on the World Cup circuit.
In all in all I am just thankful to be alive. It seems as if only yesterday I was sick inpatient kid at St. Louis Children's Hospital a waiting to receive chemotherapy. As I go I am learning that I survived for a reason bigger than myself. Possibly as a role model to the kids who are still receiving chemo today , such as I was almost "yesterday"I would like to thank advance all who have sent prayers support and contributions in making my adaptive dream successful!
A young adult cancer survivor