Kelli Sakaguchi

"With the Swim With Mike Foundation taking care of the costs of college, I can focus on my medical needs and my education. For me, college is a milestone in my recovery. It’s a time where I can find how I fit into the world with my disability. Although it can be a struggle to keep pushing forward, my fellow recipients continually inspire me with their strength and dedication. I would not be who and where I am today without the endless support of every single person that contributes to the Ripple Effect."

Kelli started playing T-ball then quickly transitioned to basketball while in third grade. She played year round on club, school and Asian league teams. Basketball taught her the value of tenacity and dedication which helped her excel in AP courses in Calculus, Psychology and History. She was a hard-nosed player who always worked hard in practice and during games and did all the little things including defense, rebounding and diving for loose balls. On June 23, 2014 Kelli was in a horrible automobile accident which resulted in a spinal cord injury and paralysis. She spent a month in the ICU and another six months in rehabilitation at Rancho Los Amigos. Fortunately she was able to keep up with her school work, return to school and graduate with her class from Rolling Hills Preparatory School and receive admission to UCLA as a freshman. She was honored to serve as Valedictorian for her graduating class as well. While she could not return to the basketball team as a player she contributed as a statistician for the Varsity Boys and Girls teams.