This is one of the things that makes being a part of USASA worth all the hard work. Katie is an inspiration to us all and I hope her story motivates others to make a difference in other peoples lives.
From Wisconsin Sports Development Corporation Press Release
The Otto Breitenbach Spirit of the Games Award was created and is given annually to an individual or group of individuals who embody the excitement and enthusiasm for sports and the Winter Games. The individual receiving the award this year goes to a participant, who has an intense passion for her sport and spends much of her time training and competing, but who also used her talent to unselfishly help someone away from her sport.
Katie B. Wilson, at the age of 11, is already an accomplished snowboarder seeking a podium spot at the USA Snowboard Association National Championships at Copper Colorado, but it is for her actions off the hill that she is being recognized as the 2009 Spirit of the Games Award winner.
After enrolling in a new school this fall, Katie became friends with a girl who, not unlike herself, enjoys being physically active. After a typical fall semester, her friend had an atypical doctor’s appointment and found out she had cancer.
Katie felt heartbroken that her new friend was so sick and wanted to do something to make her feel better. She called upon the friends she’s made through snowboarding from across the country of all ages. She decided to appeal to them on her friend’s behalf.
I have been very sad the last couple of days. My friend Gina, went to the doctor for a regular well-check-up and found out she has cancer. She has two tumors, one just above her heart and one pushing on her trachea. She has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It is very sad and scary to think she was at my house for a Halloween party and a few weeks later she has cancer. (she is only 11 just like me)
Gina is very brave, and is my hero. She tries to find smiles when she can. The one thing she is really worried about is losing her hair. She starts chemo today. As many of you know I make snowboard hats, and yes I am making her one…. but she is so sad and worried about how she is going to look after she looses her hair. Just one hat isn’t cool when you feel so yucky and lose your hair…… a girl needs CHOICES you know!
So I thought….. HEY…. Snowboarders have the BEST hats around! I want to make her smile and feel COOL again! So I need your help! I decided to start a hat drive for Gina! I am asking everyone I know to send me a hat. Gina is fighting for her life; I want her to feel cool and loved and not worry about her hair or how she looks. She is so pretty! So if you could help me with the hats that would really cheer her up!
Thanks SOOOO much for helping me make her smile again.
Katie B. Wilson
Katie feels blessed to have a gift, her snowboarding talent, and she wanted to use her gift to help her friend. Katie’s mission to make Gina smile has turned into a larger mission. She intends to keep collecting hats throughout the snowboard season, as well as continue making them, and every year deliver the hats to the children’s cancer unit at Children’s Hospital on Thanksgiving.
Even though their friendship is new found, it has changed both the girls’ lives forever. Katie looks forward to the day Gina can get back to being active; and in a vast array of stylish hats.
Katie B. Wilson has unselfishly turned her gift into a gift for another. The American Family Insurance Badger State Games are proud to present her with the 2009 Otto Breitenbach Spirit of the Games Award.
To help Katie spread smiles, you can send a new hat to:
Katie B. Wilson
PO Box 731
Theinsville, WI 53092