lmost 19 years ago, I was born with spastic Cerebral Palsy on the left side of my body. This condition affects me physically and mentally, but thanks to the enduring support of the specialists at Boyer, my wonderful parents, and my school community, I have never let this difference break my spirit or get me down. The support I received from the physical, occupational, and educational therapists at Boyer laid the groundwork for the skills my parents and I have used throughout my life to advocate for my physical and educational needs. I have experienced many challenges during my lifetime, but have learned to always keep moving forward, working towards new goals, and overcoming failure.

I have recently finished up a successful running career at my high school. I was named an “Athlete of the Week” by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association for my inspiring decision to run against able-bodied athletes as a physically disabled one. At the end of May 2018, I competed at the Washington State Championship in the ambulatory disability division for the second time, bringing home two gold medals in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, and a silver medal in the 400-meter dash. Much to my own surprise, I also helped my high school place 1st as a team in the Para-Athlete division, and brought back a trophy to add to my school’s collection.

As much as I have accomplished already, my journey of chasing after excellence—both on and off the track—is far from over. This fall, I will begin studying kinesiology (movement science) at the University of British Columbia, and will join their track team as a Paralympic athlete. Looking forward to college track, my potential to compete at the highest Paralympic level is evident to the track coach at UBC, and while running for UBC, I plan to join the International Paralympic ranks and compete against physically disabled sprinters from all over the world.

Most recently, I have been witnessing Boyer’s life-changing therapies from a new perspective. At the end of 2017, I delivered a speech about my life experience at Boyer’s Inspiring Journeys Gala. For my high school’s senior intern project, I volunteered in Boyer’s preschool classroom. Through this internship, I have gained insight into techniques used by Boyer’s therapists to improve their clients’ physical and mental function and have acquired real work experience in the process. I am sure this internship experience will benefit me over the course of my life and career and prepare me to become a physical therapist in the future.