Alpine Paralympic Athlete
HOMETOWN: Winter Park, CO
I'm originally from the war torn country of Bosnia. When I was young, my family moved to Serbia in order to escape the war. I spent my childhood and teenage years training to be a professional handball player with the hopes of going to the Olympics. At the age of eighteen, I was drafted by the army and ordered to fight in the war. However, being of both Bosnian and Serbian descent, my service would be short lived.
I made a difficult decision to move to the United States and leave behind my family, friends, and my dreams of being a professional team handball player. I relocated to Indian Trail, North Carolina and started a new life with a wonderful family. I was blessed to have such an extraordinary opportunity to learn about American culture and live in an country full of possibilities. I even got a chance to play team handball for Middle Georgia College while pursuing a degree in International Business. I trained and studied hard with the dual goals of graduation and the Olympics.
Those goals took an almost fatal blow on January 13, 2000. When driving home, late that night from practice, I fell asleep at the wheel and hit a guardrail head on. I was severely injured and the doctors said I had a small chance of surviving. Immediately my parents flew from Serbia and were devastated to find their son fighting for life and ultimately unable to walk again. A part of me died when I regained consciousness and learned that I was paralyzed. I felt my hopes and ambitions fade away.
However, I realized that in this country, there are strong support systems for paraplegics with endless possibilities. I underwent rehabilitation at the Shepard Center and learned to fight for the life I always dreamed of. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a Bachelor's degree in International Business. I married my beautiful wife, Sarah, in 2007 and we have two amazing daughters, Lejla and Maja .
The only time in my life I feel free from my wheelchair is when I ski. I would ski night and day if I could. I have been training competitively for nine years and been a member of the US Paralympic Alpine Ski team for five years. I placed 9th in the 2010 Paralympic Games in Vancouver and 6th in the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi. Representing the United States is an extraordinary experience and it is truly humbling to compete with the best athletes in the world. I am so grateful for all those you supported me in reaching my goals. I look forward to training the next Paralympic Games in South Korea, 2018.
The major expenses I incur are equipment and travel. I sincerely appreciate your support and assistance in making my dreams a reality. All donations are tax deductible under the non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization, Turning Point. I promise to regularly update you on my progress as testimony of what your generosity has helped achieve. Please call (704) 779-1461 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in supporting me as I train for another Paralympic Games. Thank you very much for your time and consideration!