Friends to hold fundraiser for local Paralympian
A group of friends will hold a fundraiser for local Paralympian Beth Requist on Dec. 10.
The fundraiser is geared toward supporting Requist’s endeavor to become a Paralympic sit ski racer.
Mara Pacyga, physical therapist and owner of Elevate Pilates and Physical Therapy, is organizing the event.
“She’s been my patient and friend since she came out of rehab, so we’re doing the fundraiser with her to raise money,” Pacyga said.
“My goal was to try to get powerful strong women and other athletes behind her and supporting her so she could really feel the love and support behind her.”
In August 2011, Requist suffered a debilitating spinal cord injury during a rafting trip on the Colorado River.
Requist quickly took up cross-country skiing and biathlon, excelling in both.
Within two years of starting, Requist had two World Cup podium finishes.
In 2014, she traveled to Sochi, Russia, to compete in the Paralympic Winter Games.
Scott Olson, a coach with the National Sports Center for the Disabled, helped Requist get her start in Nordic skiing.
“Beth is one of those people that once you see her and you’re around her, you cant help but smile because she’s just got that personality and she doesn’t stop; she doesn’t let things bother her or get in the way,” Olson said. “She just keeps driving forward.”
Olson said he is especially impressed with how Requist has adapted to the life of a professional athlete.
She has no trouble hauling her mono ski and equipment through airports and around the globe, Olson said.
“She’s also the one who shows up everyday for practice,” Olson said. “She’s one of the first ones here and one of the least ones to leave.”
Requist underwent another surgery in April that left her with less functional muscle and ongoing nerve pain.
In a sense, she was forced to start over, Olson said.
Now, she hopes to surpass her previous athletic accomplishments and compete as a sit ski racer in the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
She’s currently competing in Giant Slalom and Super G, and she just had a fifth place in her first race of the season, Olson said.
“Coming back from the surgery and doing what she’s doing, this is a phenomenal start to the season for her,” he said.
The “Breath for Beth” fundraiser will start at 5 p.m. at Elevate Pilates and Physical Therapy in Winter Park Station.
There will be donation-based pilates, yoga and tai chi classes and a silent auction.
Participants can preregister for classes at elevateppt.com.
Hank Shell can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610.
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