I met Aaron Scheidies when I raced in my very first triathlon at the New York City Triathlon in 2008. Even prior to meeting him, we spoke on the phone. I read plenty about him online and was tickled at how accomplished and down to earth he was. On the phone, he treated me as though we had been long time friends. When we met, it was more of the same. His story is so moving. It ripped my heart out to read how he had problems with his eye when he was five years old, but doctors insisted he was fine and was simply crying out for attention. He gradually lost his sight to a rare eye condition, but had discovered his athletic skills. He hoped to continued his athletic career post eyesight lost and he was able to do so by racing triathlons. In October of 2007, Scheidies, with Ben Collins as his sighted guide, broke the two hour barrier for an olympic distance triathlon by completing the race which consists of a .9 mile swim, 24.8 mile bike ride, and 6.2 mile run in one hour and fifty-seven minutes. He has also competed at the world championships for olympic distances, Half Ironman, and full Ironman triathlons. He is a world champion triathlete and even greater individual. He is nominated for Male Athlete With A Disability.
I first read about Melissa Stockwell in an online article. She had served this country as a member of the army. Melissa proudly went to Iraq to take part in the war. Three weeks after arriving, she lost her leg in a roadside bomb. She was twenty-four years old at the time. She was crushed that in losing her leg, she would no longer be able to participate in sports which she loved doing as much as she loved representing her country in battle. Eventually, Stockwell found herself in a swimming pool and discovered that while in the pool she was herself again. She began competing in swim events and discovered she had a talent for triathlons too. She raced in Chicago and soon found herself in New York City in the summer of 2010 competing in the National Championship for Physically Challenged athletes. She performed so well, she qualified for the world championship which she simply went out and won! Shortly after learning of her inspirational story, I was told about a new group, Dare2Tri Chicago Paratriathlon Club of which, Melissa was one of the founding members. I was asked if I had interest in joining the team. To meet Melissa and race along side? Of course, yes! When I finally did meet her, I was in awe of the magnificent woman. She is nominated for Female Athlete With A Disability.
Please vote for Aaron and Melissa at the following site:
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