Elite Paratriathlete, Author, Model, Speaker, and Teacher
"It is not our differences that divide us. It's our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences."
I had a birth deformity when I was born that resulted in me becoming an amputee at the age of 2. It's a title that I have both struggled with and felt extreme pride in throughout the years. It certainly hasn't stopped me from having a full life. I met my husband in college at the University of Toledo, and we have two little girls named Gabriella (9) and Eliza (5). My family means so much to me. We love spending time exercising together, vacationing, reading, and being outdoors.
I have been a high school English teacher for 14 years now and get a lot of pleasure from seeing my students grow and develop throughout the year. I still keep in contact with many of my former students and am extremely proud of the people they've become.
About 3 years ago I decided to write a book. Being an author has always been a dream of mine, and I wasn't getting any younger or less busy, so I thought why not :) WHOLE: A Leg Up On Life was a labor of love. I wrote it in about 7 months. The words flowed effortlessly because the story was already written. There was no plot to create; my life was the plot. All I had to do was sit down and write my history. It was an enlightening process because I wasn't privy to much of my early years. Thankfully, my family helped fill in the gaps. What I love most about being an author is networking and meeting new people. I have learned so much from others sharing their own stories and journeys with me!
As I have gotten more comfortable in my own skin over the years, I discovered a new dream- modeling. I recently signed with NV Models and Talent and became their first disabled model. I hope to empower others with physical limitations to see their inner and outer beauty.
In June of 2022, I started my journey in Paratriathlon. It was the first time that I ever competed against other people with physical challenges. I quickly developed a passion for the sport and adaptive athlete community. Since beginning, I have placed third in the National Championships, placed third in my first international race, and recently qualified to be an elite athlete. I am now hungry for the next level of competition and ultimately seek to participate in the 2024 Paralympics in Paris. No matter where this journey takes me, I'm thankful for the lessons I have learned both physically and mentally and the friends I have made.