Last night the Chilkoot Cafe fundraiser was the most touching and well-done send-off party I could have ever hoped for.
We had many guests from the Stillwater Area, but many traveled from much farther away; Duluth, Wisconsin, Milwaukee and Boston (the longest distance traveled for sure), were all represented! Some people were skiers or athletes in another sport, but many people not involved in Nordic (like my high school friend’s parents) came simply to support a local athlete, which was very cool. The number and variety of people was humbling and inspiring.
The Chilkoot Cafe closed their doors for the night and generously donated their time and delicious food and drink, and Finn Sisu made a matching grant of 2,000 which was matched in full by the Ride and Glide Ski Club.Together the Chilkoot Cafe, friends and guests, Ahvo’s Finn Sisu ski and sauna shop and the Ride and Glide Club raised a total of just over $10,000. This is incredible and the extreme generosity of these people was overwhelming.
But even more important than the financial part of the fundraiser was the amount of emotional support given from the community. When it gets lonely on the road, when I have a bad race, when I’m not sure if I should be over in Europe racing and feel like I don’t belong on the World Cup, this is what really keeps me going. Because these people, friends and family, are the ones behind me no matter what happens and it’s such an amazing feeling to realize that they’re always cheering, race results aside. I was completely overwhelmed by the kindness of all these people who had come together to support not only me but the idea that if you work hard and truly believe in a cause, it will all come together in the end and you’ll reach your goals!
This season, I will not have any gaps in my funding and I will be able to chose the best options for training and racing, and not have to skip any race due to cost. I plan to use the money well and take every opportunity to race and represent the USA to the best of my ability.
So, thank you, thank you, thank you once again to everyone who participated in the fundraiser dinner, donated online, donated to the NNF fundraiser, helped coach a local club, followed the World Cups online in the early mornings, wrote a good-luck card, or gave me a high five.
Your support – both financial and the emotional investment of cheering on an athlete – is truly appreciated and goes a long, long way. I am your athlete; the USST is your team. We’re in it together.