Alife-altering battle with cancer as a child only made Nicole Roundy more determined to reach for her dreams.
Now, as a 26-year-old, she is attempt ng to fulfill the pinnacle of her sporting dreams by participating in the 2014 Paralympics.
Roundy, who is an adaptive snowboarder, has been competing and winning events for some time. Until recently, however, snowboarding was not a recognized Paralympics sport. Now, she learned there is a chance for her to participate in the 2014 games.
First, though, she has to raise funds, not just for a new $5,000 prosthetic knee, but also to help her with training and travel costs.
"It's a never-ending story," Roundy said. "It is the same for all the athletes. You have to constantly come up with money for new parts to put you back on the snow or to get you to competitions."
A lack of funds has kept her from competing and training as much as she has wanted to. But it has not stopped her from dreaming and pursuing those dreams.
Her mother, Brenda, said Nicole has always been determined in everything she did. She said that her daughter has always wanted to raise awareness to help other amputees realize that losing a limb is not the end.
"They can still be active," Brenda Roundy said. "They can do the things they want. It will be more of a challenge, but they are not less of a person."
She remembers when her daughter was diagnosed with cancer at age 8. Nicole had been walking across the street to play with friends in June 1994 when Brenda noticed that she was favoring one of her legs.
"I got a knot in my stomach," Brenda said. "It felt like something was wrong."
The hard lump that was found in her knee was cancer, osteosarcoma. It meant three months of aggressive chemotherapy treatment and an amputation, followed by another six to eight months of chemotherapy.
"She was really brave," Brenda said. "She took everything with a grain of salt, even though she was deadly ill. She was that sick, but she kept her spirits up.
"She smiled through it all, even when she had to throw up every 10 minutes," Brenda said.
Everything that happened, made her daughter stronger, Brenda said.
Nicole said she always wanted to be active and would not let her amputation stop her from pursuing her dreams. She first started competing in 2005. She tried other sports like skiing and swimming, but they did not spark her interest.
"I didn't want to hobble onto the slopes," she said. "I didn't want to fall and not be able to walk off. I was only 14 years old then.
"I was attached to my prosthetic and independence. I did not want to leave that behind so I could participate in a sport," Nicole said.
That is why she chose snowboarding. Though it was made more challenging for her because she is an above-the knee amputee.
"It's easier to snowboard if your amputation is below the knee," she said. "It is a lot easier to do anything. Prosthetics have not evolved to the level to allow you to do anything you want yet."
Plus, her amputation was slightly different.
Brenda said the tumor coned up inside Nicole's knee. So when the amputation was done, the doctors took part of her tibia and attached it to the remaining femur to create a longer stump.
Nicole said she was the first above-the-knee amputee to participate in snowboarding, that she is aware of.
Now, she is receiving instruction from Team Utah coaches aa part of the team at the National Ability Center in Park City.
The Bountiful native plans to move from Salt Lake City, where she currently lives and work, to Park City soon. That way she can be close to the slopes to train.
She earned her bachelor's degree in business management from Western Governor's University in May. Now, she works full time for Intermountain Healthcare in healthcare quality.
She does her training outside of her 40-hour work week.
"It's challenging, but it is so much fun," she said. "You have to keep going and do whatever it takes."
She is planning to host a benefit concert at the end of October, although that is just in planning stages. She said she will keep working to make sure she can reach her dream.
Log onto www.nicoleroundy.com for more information.