Sports: Our family was a whirlwind of year-round sports...
From early on in life, I have been involved in every sport imaginable-soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, swimming, downhill skiing, biking and even dancing. When you are born into a die-hard sports family with three brothers, the bar is already set high! We had so much fun together. Our family was a whirlwind of year-round sports and I was very much in the middle of it!
Swimming was my big sport growing up and I always dreamed of making the Olympics one day. At the age of eleven I had accomplished a lot in my swimming career and thought it was entirely possible until one day, when it all changed, and my battle was not against an opponent at a swim meet…..it was to stay alive. I never thought I’d be able to swim again especially without the use of my legs.
I had never heard of the Paralympics and I had not even realized there were opportunities for me to participate in sports with my paralysis, until I read an article in a UNH alumni magazine about sports teams for people with disabilities. A seed of hope sprouted in me. “I can play sports again?” My journey back into the sports arena that I love so much began with “I can.” I discovered the world of Paralympic sports and one sport in particular being sled hockey. After that I immediately knew I was going to be an athlete again.
All of my experiences competing as an athlete have helped me tremendously, but the encouragement of my family and friends is what has kept that dream alive. They are my greatest cheerleaders. My advice for an aspiring athlete with disabilities or not, is to believe in yourself, defy the odds and don’t focus on what you don’t have. Don’t ever lose your hope. “Face it, embrace it, defy it, and conquer it.”
Limitations can only define you if you let them.