Who I Am and What I Do...
My name is Ann Yoshida, I was raised in Hawaii and I am on my way to the 2013 World Sprints in Duisburg, Germany, which will help lead me to my ultimate goal of participating in the 2016 Paralympics in Rio. Currently, I am on the national Team USA in outrigger V-1 canoeing.
My passion is trailblazing a path for others to get out and choose to access their best life.
On my way to Duisburg, Germany
Recently, I attended the 2013 International Regatta National Team Trials in Lake Placid, New York, on the flat waters of Mirror Lake. I competed alongside fellow paddlers, both juniors and para-athletes, and won my 200-meter event with a time of 71 seconds, which is my personal best, and subsequently classified as an Elite athlete and became an official member of Team USA Paracanoe/kayak.
Now I am on way to Duisburg, Germany to participate in the 2013 ICF World Sprints Championships. This race will platform me to being a world champion and help me to move toward the goal of competing in the 2016 Paralympics.
Where I Came From and How I Got This Far...
On February 10, 2000, a driver failed to stop at an intersection and crashed into the passenger side of the car in which I was seated. My aorta ruptured in that accident and I got an ischemic injury that stopped the blood and oxygen flowing to my spine for many hours. The nerves were killed and I was left paralyzed from the chest down with a partially paralyzed arm and a traumatic brain injury. Not many people survive this type of injury, but I was lucky that the best cardiovascular surgeon was at a nearby hospital at the time.
As water does, I just flowed with the recovery process and realized I have a choice to change my life. This choice empowered me to unloose all limits and fears and become extraordinary. Step by step, my experience shows there are no limits on a person’s abilities if they have enough, time, equipment, support and resources.
The biggest obstacle with water sports is by far “access to the beach” and getting over the fact that I think I can do it all myself. In truth, I probably can do it myself, but it is a whole lot easier and more enjoyable sharing experiences with others. It fulfills two vital needs, service and gratitude. Looking to my foundation has always helped me overcome obstacles. My foundation consists of having faith in Christ and all He stands for, learning all I can, and having a sense of humor when I make a mistake.
What I've Done Thus Far...
During the last decade, I have had the opportunity to be the first to do many exiting things; the first female adaptive surfer, the first to off-road hand-cycle in Nepal, and now, significantly, the first Hawaiian woman to represent America on Team USA/ paracanoe at an international competition -- if you know the history, Hawaii was the first state to make adaptive outrigger canoe paddling competitive and so a Hawaiian representative is not only natural, but also a HUGE deal.
What I'm Doing to Get to Germany...
I am excited at having made the National Team, and the responsibility of representing the United States has gotten me out in the water 6 days a week and in the gym 4 days a week with alternating cross training. My preparations are not only physical and mental but unexpectedly, spiritual and social as well. It really takes a whole village/community to support me in my efforts and I would like to highlight that anyone and everyone can get out into the community and live their best self.
What I Need to Get There...
In order to compete in the 2013 Sprint World Championships in Duisburg Germany, I am raising funds to help with travel expenses exceeding $3000, training and coaching $1000, and necessary equipment $2500.
There are so many friends and family members that take part in supporting my canoe training: my coach Shelley Oates-Wilding of Ikaika has been a tremendous support in keeping me focused on good technique, the Challenged Athletes Foundaiton (CAF) for helping support my canoe cost, AccesSurf for helping me train with access to equipment, and Purelight Racing, my 6-man outrigger team for bringing the competition. Aloha Kakou! (Thank You All!)
Other Ways To Help
As with any adaptive sport, supporting is not only financial. You can also help in spreading the word about this Rally via Facebook, Twitter, blogging and email. I hope to see you as you get out there and access your best life!