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Andrew Haraghey – Setting an example on the slopes

Andrew Haraghey – Setting an example on the slopes

Name: Andrew Haraghey
Age: 22
Hometown: Park City, Utah
Sport: Downhill Skiing

When Andrew Haraghey was a baby, he developed viral encephalitis and his development seemed to slow even after his recovery. When he still was not walking at age 2, Andrew's parents brought him to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Springfield, where he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

After the stunning diagnosis sank in, Andrew and his family got to work. Over the next 19 years, Andrew went through physical therapy, leg braces and surgery. "Everyone at Shriners Hospitals worked together as a team to give me the best opportunities possible," he said. "They taught me that there's always a way to adapt to the abilities you have in order to succeed."

Andrew found one of his first successes on the ski slopes. His mom came up with the idea after seeing how frustrated Andrew got trying to keep up when walking with his peers. When 7 years old, Andrew began skiing by holding on to one of his mom's poles. Suddenly, speed was not an issue. The rush of the blades on the snow offered a freedom Andrew could not experience on foot. He was determined to ski on his own. Three years later, he let go of his mom's pole and has not stopped since.

Andrew soon began not only skiing solo, but racing. When 14 years old, he knew he wanted a shot at the Paralympics. His dream has now become a reality. Andrew qualified for Team USA as a downhill skier and participated in the 2018 Paralympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Most recently, he was inducted into the U.S. Olympians and Paralympians Association.

Besides training seven hours each day, Andrew also finds time to study public health at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah. "My goal is to work in a field where I can help people. I want to give back and show someone else the opportunity that I've been shown."

Andrew and his mom also advocate for people with disabilities. They give talks and demonstrations to school kids about disability awareness. Andrew's mom also wrote a children’s book about her son's success called, Andrew Can Ski. It is designed to inspire anyone who may have obstacles to overcome. She has also become an official adaptive ski instructor, helping others along the same journey Andrew has taken.

Andrew skiing

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