I am fundraising this year because Swim with Mike has been an invaluable resource for helping me complete my dream of becoming a veterinarian after a life changing spinal cord injury and there will be many more deserving people that will have their live’s changed by this scholarship.

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Lori Hammond Fundraiser

Swim with Mike has been an integral part of my return back to school after my spinal cord injury. Since the time I was four years old, I have dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. While a sophomore at UC Davis, studying Animal Science, I began having excruciating back pain that would come and go. One evening, I felt this same pain and left a friend’s house early to try and get some rest, but when I got home and laid down, I realized something serious was happening as I could no longer move or feel from my belly button on down. I was rushed to the Emergency Room in an ambulance and underwent an emergency spinal surgery, where they found that blood had compressed by spinal cord 80-90%. As the days passed I realized that my life had likely been changed forever. The one thought that saddened me most was wondering whether I would still be able to be a veterinarian in a wheelchair. I spent the following year in recovery, working hard every day to maximize any return. I was lucky to find Project Walk where I felt I could return to my inner athlete and work hard to accomplish physical goals. It was here that I learned about Swim with Mike which introduced me to many inspirational people that had faced similar injuries and were able to continue their educational pursuits. These stories helped provide me with the confidence I needed to return to school and continue my goals I had set for myself before my spinal cord injury. Today, I am months away from graduating Veterinary School and realizing that dream. I am so very thankful for the people I have met through Swim with Mike and their financial support that has made my return to school, and thus my dreams, a possibility.  

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