Being an athlete meant the world to me! Aside from God, family, and friends, it’s the greatest blessing I’ve ever experienced. I was a very talented runner and soccer player. I even made the Junior Olympic Development Team for soccer. Then had an autoimmune attack on my body which left me temporarily paralyzed from the waist down. But with faith, grit, and determination I did not listen to the doctor who told me I’d never walk again. I worked hard in PT, prayer, and visualization. And recovered about 85 percent. I had to switch sports, so I became a swimmer and rower. I earned Hardest Working Swimmer three years in a row, 3 Varsity letters, and was captain of my team. I rowed throughout high school and into college, even competing at an international level despite physical limitations in my left leg from the sickness that hit. I won many races and earned many medals. I never asked for or wanted any pity or any special accommodations. Every medal or award won was hard-fought. I made Varsity as a freshman at UW Madison for rowing and earned a spot on the four-man crew that competed at Head of the Charles Regatta (The Super Bowl of Rowing). My boat took second place! I worked so hard for that spot. Athletics helped me push my body to my limits, taught me the value of hard work and sacrifice, taught me how to rise from defeat, and be gracious during victories. It has been a huge part of the strong woman I am today. And I have life-long friends from those treasured times. I now have three precious athletic kids who are making their own way in their athletic endeavors of running, nordic skiing, and swimming. Two of which are young men and the other a young woman! There is a difference between the genders! We are both amazingly strong, but in different ways! My daughter deserves a fair shake to compete against biological females. Title IX, meant something! We can’t lose the progress we’ve gained! Press on, persevere, stand for what is right….even if you stand alone!