No doubt about it, I have had a blessed young life. 17 years old now and Jesus has been with me every step of the way. As I sit in my room, I am reminded of numerous fun times. My walls are decorated with memories of family and friends. My trophy shelves don’t have a vacant spot on them, probably over 100 trophies and medals representing countless hours of hard work on the soccer field, baseball diamond and basketball court. Twice awarded “Top Male Athlete” in my grade at school. All that while always being the shortest and smallest player on my teams. My dad coached me on the majority of those teams. We always looked beyond my size, always saying “develop the work rate, intelligence and skill – and the best is yet to come.”
Only for me – at the moment – the ‘best times’ never came. I finally got taller, but my opponent is the hardest I have ever faced. CANCER! Brain Cancer to be exact. It came into my life almost 2 years ago – like a thief in the night. It stole all my hopes, dreams, confidence, and in many ways, even my identity. The best way I can describe it is it feels like I have been to Hell and back. Because of my tumor, I have constant left side weakness in my left are and left leg (I think they call it ‘hemi pareses’) to go along with my daily Chemo, a variety of medicines, therapy and numerous doctors visits. Physically – everything I was so gifted at and could do with ease has been taken from me. I now require assistance to do some of the simplest of things. I am a senior in High School – my home which was once a hot spot of activity seldom has any teenage visitors anymore. Every day is a battle, and my life seems to be a shell of what it once was.
I ask for no pity or sympathy. As doors close, others open. My faith is greater than I ever dreamed it could be. GOD loves me and has a plan for me. I still plan to go to college, and BELIEVE once GOD heals me, everyone will see how AWESOME our GOD is. I believe I’ll return to the soccer field and baseball diamond one day. I believe GOD will bless me with someone special through whom I’ll one day become a wonderful husband, father, and coach. At the moment, I maintain my competitive drive through Table Tennis. Being limited physically, I had to look for an activity with less physical demands. Table Tennis proved to be an intense challenge, but something I can be successful at.
I’ve enjoyed a little success playing against ‘able body athletes’ who got me invited to a weeklong Para-Olympic camp/tournament in San Diego, California in November (Mike Dempsey Memorial Table Tennis Championships) My family isn’t currently in a position financially to sponsor my attendance. But they committed to finding a way to get me out there and be a part of the special opportunity. A social worker at the hospital discovered the Nicki Leach Foundation told my family we should submit an application to help cover the cost for the camp, travel and some expenses. I am not gifted at writing letters, but I do believe GOD brings things into our lives for a reason, and in this case, hopefully, the Nicki Leach Foundation can help me pursue this unique opportunity, I know it will lead to something very special in my life. I am very hopeful I am able to attend, and want to thank you for your time and consideration of my application.