On December 20, 1995, when I was just 5 1/2 months old, a virus entered my spinal cord. The resulting condition, called transverse myelitis, left me a T8-T10 paraplegic….. which simply means “my legs don’t work”, as I used to tell little kids asking. Since that time I have been very blessed with the experiences I have had and the opportunities which have been presented to me.
At a very early age I began swimming as part of aqua therapy. I loved the water and the freedom it brought to me…….the buoyancy the water provided as I moved was a hugh equalizer in allowing me to be just one of the kids in the water. This is definitely why I gravitated to swimming right away. My swimming led to club team swimming and eventually to my team at Fenwick High School. Throughout my youth I also became very involved in variety of sports; track, field, water skiing, snow skiing, tennis. You name it, I probably tried it! Sports were a huge outlet for me growing up and I can honestly sit here and tell you that they helped shaped me into the person I am today.
As a high school student athlete with a disability, I also found myself advocating for the rights of disabled athletes in Illinois. As part of an effort to swim at a competitive high level I teamed up with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and Equip for equality . Together we forced the Illinois High School Association to create opportunities for disabled swimmers to compete at the state championship level. As a result of this effort, myself and six other girls were the first athletes with a disability in Illinois history to compete at a state championship swim meet.
During my high school years I also became very involved in the sport of paratriathlon. Since then I have been able to travel the world to train and race doing something I love. I was able to represent the United States as the youngest member of Team USA at the 2012 & 2014 World Triathlon Championships.
Currently, I attend The University of Arizona and train with various teams in the Tucson area. I love living an active lifestyle and regularly mentor young individuals to fully engage in an active life.
While I would consider myself a driven individual, I would never be where I am today if it were not for the family, friends, mentors, coaches, and sponsors who have been at my side throughout my wonderful journey. I hope you enjoy keeping up with what I am doing through this website, my tweets and blog. I continue to update as often as possible.
“Never Never Never Give Up”