The Paralympic Champions Fund and Alana Nichols

{Yes, I know I still haven’t told ANY stories from our Paris and Iceland adventures. You see, my photos suck compared to the ones Will captured, and he has been busy at work and hasn’t been able to edit them yet. I swear, first post will go up before the end of the week!}

This post was created in partnership with Citi®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Before I explain what the Paralympic Champions Fund fund actually entails, I feel like I should first explain why I’m choosing to write about it. I mean, it’s clear from the nondisclosure above that this is a sponsored post, and I will be upfront in telling you that I am receiving payment from the Citi Every Step of the Way program. However, I received this same offer a few weeks ago if I agreed to write about various people and programs in the Olympics, and I turned it down. While I love the Olympics, I wasn’t inspired to write about any of it. The Paralympic Champions Fund and Alana Nichols are different.

Why?

For those of you that have read my blog for awhile, you may remember that I received my M.Ed in Special Education back in August of 2012. For the culmination of my graduate degree, I developed a 100-page curriculum that focused on adaptive sports for special needs athletes. I spent three years as an adaptive ski instructor, working with special needs kiddos and wounded war vets. Additionally, I recently signed up to volunteer with Adaptive Adventures, and my first orientation is actually next week! In short, this is my passion and I’d love to one day run my own non-profit outdoor rec program for this demographic of the population.

Now that I’ve thrown all of that at you, I’m hoping you’ll understand a bit more as to why I chose to take on this sponsored post. Alana Nichols is a badass, and I truly can’t think of a better word to describe her! She is originally from New Mexico and grew up snowboarding her winters away in Colorado. However, in 2000 she attempted a back flip on her board and landed on a rock against her spine; she was paralyzed from the waist down.

Alana Nichols

She didn’t let her paralysis hold her back though, and this is what I find so truly inspiring. She went on to play wheelchair basketball and helped the women’s basketball team win gold in the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. After their big win, Nichols decided to return to alpine skiing in Colorado. She began training with the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park {the same program I used to teach at!}, and eventually won two gold medals, a silver and a bronze at the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver. She is officially the first American woman to win gold medals at both a summer and winter games!

Nichols is now trying to help other adaptive athletes get into the sport, and that’s where this partnership with the Every Step of the Way program comes together. Citi has teamed up with various Team USA athletes {like Nichols} who have partnered with a charity. Citi wants your vote to determine which charity will receive their $500,000 donation!

As she mentioned in her video, being an adaptive athlete is insanely expensive. Personally, I remember my adaptive skiers needing all sorts of special gear ranging from large ski boots to accommodate enlarged calves {for kiddos with Down Syndrome} to sit skis for paraplegic athletes. The USA Paralympic Champions Fund hopes to provide this needed money so that adaptive athletes aren’t left out before they even begin to try.

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Do you have a charity or cause that is important to you?

Did you head over to Citi’s page to cast your vote? Whose charity did you vote for?!

 

9 Comments

  • Reply Carla at

    (((CLICKS AWAY TO VOTE)))

    • Reply heather at

      Thanks Carla!

  • Reply Daria at

    Lovely!

    • Reply heather at

      Thank you!

  • Reply Kayla @ kpLOVINGit at

    Every time I see one of those athletes doing flips, I worry about something like that happening!

    Of course I voted for the disabled, but it was a pretty difficult decision considering there are children and veteran funds competing!!

    Where ever the money ends up going, I’m sure it will be put to good use.

    Tell Sir William to get on the ball with those pictures; I’m dying to know some details! 🙂

    • Reply heather at

      Working on it right now!

  • Reply Have an Adventurous Weekend | JabberWalk at

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  • Reply Kate at

    What a great cause. Thanks for sharing this info!

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