Krista Ramirez-Villatoro

"Swim with Mike made it possible for me to pursue a graduate degree as well as compete as a collegiate athlete which I don't think was possible before."

Krista was born in Guatemala, where she lived a full and active life.  At the age of five, she was diagnosed with a lymphoblastic lymphoma that had wrapped around her spinal cord and kidneys.  Her family made the difficult decision to move Krista to Boston, Massachusetts for life saving chemo treatments.  Help came too late, and the aggressive growth of the tumor resulted in paralysis at the T-4 level.  Physical therapy allowed her to regain some movement and function, but she was still dependent upon a manual wheelchair.  The chair then allowed her to pursue adaptive sports and there she thrived. She first tried handcycling, then monoskiing, and then wheelchair basketball with the Denver Rolling Nuggets.  Eventually she found her passion in wheelchair tennis and competed as an undergraduate for Biola University.  Upon graduation from Biola, Krista was admitted to UCLA to study Design and Media Arts to work on experimental film that focuses on the disability experience. Krista will also be the first adaptive athlete to represent UCLA at the national level. Krista becomes the sixth Swim With Mike scholarship recipient to attend UCLA.