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Dreams: Andrew Kurka

Andrew Kurka has always had big dreams, but sometimes you need to adjust them because of circumstances you don’t expect.  When Andrew was eight years-old he wanted to be a champion wrestler. He’s already won a state championship, but his coach had some wise advice, “Remember, there will always be someone better.”

 That day Andrew knew something important.” I wanted to be the best. That’s where my Olympic dream grew. Once you win that gold medal on the Olympic stage, you are the best. From then on, every moment was a dedication to bettering myself, and my Olympic wrestling dream grew with great successes and many failures.”

But, just when Andrew was working toward his goals, something happened that changed everything. In 2005, Andrew broke his back and became paralyzed after an ATV accident.  At that time, Andrew felt   “Fear and hopelessness.”” But, he continued to explain,” looking back on it now, that accident has defined me and shaped the person I am today – in so many good ways. The process of recovery from an injury was difficult. There were trials and tribulations, especially as a 13-year-old. I didn’t know where to go next or where this would lead me. Nevertheless, after work, focus and a family that stood behind me, I started walking again at the age of 15. This was when my world opened and possibilities started to flow. I became the Miracle Child for the Children’s Miracle Network. I traveled and spoke to many young children with uncertain futures. Each of them helped me to realize my own potential. That is when everything started to turn around. Two years from the date of my injury, I realized I could live just as much – if not more – than most people. I would live life in a different way, and there was nothing wrong with that.”

How could Andrew use his skills? Andrew’s physical therapist introduced him to mono-skiing. After that, Andrew began dreaming of becoming a Paralympic champion.  Andrew has won many awards and honors because he wants to “Make a difference.”  Not only that, but he believes things happen for a reason. Today, Andrew’s big dream is to win a medal in the Paralympics.  I can’ t wait to see if his dreams come true. Go Andrew! I’ll be cheering you on.

copyright; Deanie Humphrys-Dunne 2018

For more about Andrew Kurka, please follow this link:

https://www.teamusa.org/US-Paralympics/Features/2017/November/29/Andrew-Kurka-Reflects-On-His-Journey-100-Days-Out-From-PyeongChang

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