When I was 17 years old, doctors discovered I had a rare tumor growing in my right knee and they told me I would have to endure a year of chemotherapy and go through the process of having a total knee replacement, all of which was during my senior year in high school. In that year, I was forced to change my goals in life from being a college bound athlete in the sport of wrestling to something different and more focused on education.
Just when life looked like it was starting to get back to normal, four years after the chemotherapy, I contracted several, very aggressive, Staph infections which led to 16 open knee surgeries and two years in the hospital. My final prognosis was, let the doctors fuse my knee and never be active again, or amputate, and re-enter into the world of sports which I so dearly loved. Once I had realized that the only way to stay active was to have my leg amputated above the knee, I found that the choice was one of the easiest and hard ones to make.
Since my amputation in 2003, I have been very active in running, snowboarding, surfing, rock climbing, volleyball and especial triathlons. My ultimate athletic quest is to compete in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. I try to give back to the community by mentoring other amputees – especially kids who have lost their limbs due to cancers such as the one I had. I am also proud to be the Head Wrestling Coach for my Alma Mater, Clairemont high school.