It was one of those moments of crystal clarity. I saw my struggles as challenges that shaped and defined me, my choices that led to this moment where I became someone to look up to, and my future as someone with the potential to help others make brave choices, live fearlessly, and appreciate the journey as a necessary part of creating a life they love.
It’s very surreal, as I write this, thinking about my transformation from snowboard hooligan to Paralympic medal winner. The Colorado Snowsports Museum and Hall of Fame recently honored me as their Adaptive Athlete of the Year. I’m a multiple Bronze and Silver Medalist in Banked Slalom and Boarder Cross at the World Cup level. I had the great honor of standing on a podium to represent my country as a Silver Medalist at the Paralympics in PyeongChang, and I’m preparing to do it all again for the 2022 Winter Paralympics in Beijing.
If you told me I would accomplish any of that – and as an amputee on top of it all – my teenage self would’ve said you were crazy. All I ever really wanted to do was be the girl on the snowboard who could do everything the boys could do, maybe even better. I would do anything and risk it all to be counted among the greats when it came to snowboarding. When my dream led me to an injury that would have stopped most people, I continued to go for it. Nothing would hold me back. I would be mobile and on my snowboard again no matter the cost. I made the hard choices, did the work, and was hit with more challenges again – and again – and again. But I always got back up, found a silver lining, and held on to my resolve.