Hello friends and family!
Many of you may not know, but when I was a young teenager I twice lost the ability to walk. Both were relatively brief periods of time, but both incidents had a lasting impact on my life. I spent my high school swimming career battling muscle spasms and not knowing for sure what was going on in my body. For six years I visited chiropractors, massage therapists, physical therapists, radiologists, pediatricians, professors of Sports Medicine, and a bevy of other specialists before I finally received a diagnosis. By my senior year of high school, I was able to complete every yard of only two practices. A typical practice for me was to swim until the pain got too intense to handle. I would then on the shower floor while steaming hot shower water coursed over me and muscle spasms shook my body. When everything would calm down, I would get back in the water and spend the rest of practice pulling myself through the water using the strength of my arms. The second time I lost feeling from my waist down was at my senior year championships. I poured everything I had into the last swim of my high school career, then flipped into the cooldown pool and sank. I struggled to break the surface and my coach knew something was wrong. A competitor was able to help me to the side of the pool where my coach held me above water. Eventually he and another coach entered the pool fully clothed and backboarded me. I left the Massachusetts State Championships strapped to a backboard in my bathing suit in February, covered in other swimmers’ towels and filled with fear. I wasn’t sure I would ever swim, or walk, again. It turns out that I had undiagnosed nerve damage in my lower spine that I had exacerbated through competitive swimming. After years away from the sport and an intense reinvestment in my physical well being, I managed to get the pain under control. I started running and have spent every single mile being grateful for my ability to move. To me, running is a celebration of movement and strength. I want to use my ability to provide opportunities for others. I want the movement I worked for to create abilities to move for others. Vermont Adaptive does that for so many people and I would love to be able to fundraise while training for my longest race distance ever so that others can benefit.
Competing in the VT 100 is a challenge that I look forward to meeting this summer. I have spent the last eight years pacing, crewing, volunteering and working at the event, and am now super excited to be able to pin on an official race number and particiate. There are people out there for whom just getting out to walk can be a challenge. People who need a little extra assistance to meet the challenge that brings health, fun and passion to their lives. Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports provides sports and recreational programs as well as wellness and environmental retreats to people with disabilities. Their programs are offered to people of all ages, with a variety of disabilities. Programs include skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and Nordic in the winter; and sailing, kayaking, canoeing, hiking, cycling, rock climbing, horseback riding, and more in the warmer months.
Please consider donating what you can to help me reach my goal and help Vermont Adaptive meet their goal too!
Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that empowers people of all disabilities through inclusive sports and recreational programming regardless of ability to pay. In addition to sports, year round programming options integrate environmental, holistic wellness, and competitive training philosophies for people of all ages with cognitive, developmental, physical and emotional/behavioral disabilities. The organization believes sports and recreation provide a physical, mental and social experience that is immeasurable in promoting self-confidence and independence in an individual.
With nearly 400 active volunteer instructors, plus generous partners and sponsors, and an amazing base of clients and friends, Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports has been at the forefront of sports and recreation for those with disabilities in New England for over 30 years. Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports is committed to empowering individuals with disabilities. We promote independence and further equality through access and instruction to sports and recreational activities.
The VT 100 is one of Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports biggest fund raisers every year. For more information about Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports: www.vermontadaptive.org.