A Swim With Mike (SWM) scholarship changed my life.
I was paralyzed when I was only thirteen years old after a snowboarding accident. One second I was an active kid, playing basketball, riding mountain bikes, and snowboarding. The next second I was a quadriplegic, unable to move or feel anything below my chest. I struggled even to breathe. It was terrifying. I broke my neck at the C4/C5 level and sustained a spinal cord injury. I spent almost four months in the hospital and when I returned home I had to learn a whole new way of life. I started high school using a wheelchair and I needed an aide to take notes and to help me get around campus. I studied hard and achieved a 4.3 GPA. I also went to physical rehabilitation every single day after school to try to recover function and movement. Fortunately, I made great progress and I can now live independently. But the reality is that I also expended all of my family’s resources on uninsured medical expenses, leaving little for education.
Thankfully, I learned about the Swim With Mike scholarship fund. I started supporting SWM events in high school. Eventually, I applied to college and was accepted at USC and awarded a SWM scholarship myself. It was one of the greatest days of my life–truly a dream come true. My mom cried for three days straight because she was so happy. I am now a chemical engineering major at Viterbi School of Engineering at USC planning to graduate in May 2018. I am focusing on materials science and someday I hope to help create new materials or work in nanotechnology.
I could not dream this big without SWM. Please help SWM provide scholarship funds for physically challenged athletes. You will change the lives of students like me–students challenged by paralysis, blindness, and amputation. Thank you so much for helping.