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Reaching for Gold in Sochi

Meet the Shriners Hospitals for Children Athletes

 

Name: Heidi Jo Duce
Age: 23
Hometown: Ouray, Colorado
Sport: Snowboarding

Accepting No Limits: Heidi was born without a fibula and most of the bones in her right ankle and foot, a condition known as fibular hemimelia. After undergoing surgery to remove her right leg (below the knee) at 18 months, she required a second corrective amputation when she was 19. All of her surgeries were done at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Salt Lake City. Heidi learned to snowboard at age 11 by attending the Un-Limb-ited Amputee Camp, which was started by a physical therapist from Shriners Hospitals for Children in Salt Lake City.

Fun Facts: Heidi never thought about being a competitive snowboarder, it was just fun for her. When the International Paralympic Committee announced that the sport would debut as part of the alpine skiing program in Sochi, Heidi knew that she wanted to be a part of these historic Paralympic games. Shortly after the announcement she began her quest for Sochi gold. Heidi’s first competitive race was in January 2013, where she actually fell at the start, but that didn’t stop her. Heidi is currently ranked in the top three in the country in the sport. In addition to snowboarding, Heidi also enjoys rock climbing, ice climbing and white water kayaking.

 

Name: Dan McCoy
Age: 19
Hometown: Cheswick, Pennsylvania
Sport: Sled Hockey

Accepting No Limits: Dan was born with spina bifida, a birth defect caused by the incomplete formation of vertebrae, and hydrocephalus, a medical condition in which there is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the brain. Dan was treated at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Erie, PA, where the staff also helped to introduce him to the sport of sled hockey at age 5.  Shriners Hospitals for Children started one of the first U.S. sled hockey teams in Erie, PA and soon followed with six more teams in the Northeast.

Fun Facts: Dan has been playing sled hockey for 14 years and has been a member of the US National Sled Hockey Team for three years. He helped Team USA win a Gold medal in the 2012 International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge World Championship in Hamar, Norway as well as in the 2012 World Sledge Hockey Challenge in Calgary. Team USA took the silver medal at the 2013 International Paralympic Committee Ice Sledge World Championship in Goyang City, South Korea. Additionally, Dan has been playing with the Pittsburgh Mighty Penguins sled hockey team ever since his introduction to the sport and is currently Captain of the team. Dan attends the University of Pittsburgh where he is pursuing a degree in rehabilitation science and sports medicine.  In addition to sled hockey, Dan enjoys rowing and cycling.

 

Name: Joe Dertinger
Age: 18
Hometown: Waconia, Minnesota
Sport: Downhill Skiing

Accepting No Limits: When Joe was 15 months old, he had surgery at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Minneapolis, MN to remove his right leg beliow the knee and to separate two fingers that were webbed together. Two months later, he received his first prosthetic leg. When Joe was 5 his prosthetist at Shriners Hospitals for Children mentioned the Courage Center, a community based service that aids in the rehabilitation process for people with a disability. The Courage Center close to Joe’s hometown had an adaptive ski program, which is where Joe first took to the slopes.

Fun Facts: Joe has been competitively racing for the past seven years. He doesn’t use adaptive ski equipment, just regular skis and poles. In April 2013, Joe was named the Men's Junior National Champion. He is the fastest skier with a disability in the US under the age of 18. He competes with fellow skiers with disabilities and against able-bodied skiers on his high school varsity team.

 

Name: Nicole Roundy
Age: 27
Hometown: Park City, Utah
Sport: Snowboarding

Accepting No Limits: In 1994, at just eight years old, Nicole was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma, a form of bone cancer. Later that year she lost her right leg above the knee and continued aggressive chemotherapy treatment. Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City made all of her prosthetics until she was 19 and introduced her to the sport during their Un-Limb-ited Amputee Camp. She wouldn’t be on the slopes today without Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Fun Facts:  Nicole first tried adapted skiing, but it wasn't for her. Snowboarding was more of a challenge but it was where she found her true calling. Nicole races boardercross. Her first team was with able-bodied athletes who pushed her to be the competitor she is today. In 2012, she received a Bachelors degree in Business Management and currently works in the outdoor industry.

 

Name: Andrew Haraghey
Age: 18
Hometown: Enfield, Connecticut
Sport: Downhill Skiing

Accepting No Limits: As a baby Andrew was diagnosed with viral encephalitis. This brought upon swelling of the brain, which resulted in a diagnosis of spastic diplegic cerebral palsy, which in his case also causes stiffness in the legs and low muscle tone. Andrew slowly recovered the function in his arms and hands but his legs never recovered. Andrew is a patient at Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield, MA. His doctors here fit him for leg braces to help him walk and encouraged him to explore the world of adaptive sports. The doctors at Shriners Hospitals for Children in Springfield have truly been there for Andrew every step of the way. Two years ago, Andrew required foot surgery and a year later needed a screw in his foot removed during the ski season. His doctors knew how important skiing was to him, so they rushed Andrew in to get him back on the slopes as soon as possible.

Fun Facts: When Andrew was seven he took his first skiing lesson. After three years Andrew became an independent skier. Due to the cerebral palsy, walking and running were a challenge, but skiing gave him new freedom. Andrew recently even won a silver medal competing against racers without disabilities at Copper Mountain, CO in December 2013. In addition to skiing, Andrew has mastered snowboarding, water skiing, wheelchair tennis, baseball and kayaking!