‘The act of writing is to share a part of your soul with the world’

It is easy while we are out cycling on the trail, paddling Lake Crabtree, or competing at boccia to forget the lives lived by our athletes that led up to this moment in time.

This week we spotlight three of our athletes who have shared their ‘souls with the world’ in their published memoirs. Although their journeys with disability are unique, they have all led to finding joy in adapted sports and community at Bridge II Sports

At age 25, Kijuan Amey had ‘life by the horns’ serving in the Air Force as an inflight refueling specialist, playing semi-pro football, finishing his bachelors degree, and launching his own business.

Then on an unassumingly beautiful day in May a motorcycle accident changed his life. Kijuan was left without the ability to see, but as he puts it “I may have lost my eyesight, but I didn’t lose my vision”.

Kijuan’s story is one of turning tragedy into triumph and finding the ability to smile through all he has faced. If you’ve been to Valor Games SE you know that smile. He has been competing since 2019 in tandem cycling, powerlifting, archery, air rifle, and boccia.

Karen Stallings, longtime Bridge II Sports athlete, passed away in February just weeks before her memoir was published. Unfortunately, she didn’t get to see it in print, but she left us with her remarkable life story living with cerebral palsy, or as she liked to think of it — ‘a little inconvenience’.

Karen lived fully with optimism and determination challenging perceived limitations along the way.  Advocating for people with disabilities, running for City Council, serving as an Executive Director and of course playing Boccia!

Dana Creighton and her mother both were affected by ataxia – a loss of control over body movements. Dana’s personal experience living in a family with a genetic illness and years of interacting with people and their clinicians in the healthcare system gave her a unique perspective to tell her own story touched by family tragedies including suicide.

Finding the words through hope, faith, and connection to describe her own experience made it possible to re-frame the story and mend a broken heart.

Dana has an MS in exercise physiology. She spent her career involved in coordinating clinical research in community health at local universities. She kayaks, cycles, and shares her talents as part of the GiGe committee at Bridge II Sports.