“My sports dream is to meet Olympic Gold Medalist, Katie Ledecky!”
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Julia, from Harrisburg, NC, has a smile that will light up a room and a backstroke that will intimidate her best competitors. As a swimmer for most of her life, the water is definitely her “happy place”. Prior to high school graduation, Julia swam competitively for both her school and other teams and was honored as a record breaking athlete at the state level. In fact, her dedication and swimming ability was also rewarded when she learned that she had been accepted to Roanoke College in Salem, VA to swim for their varsity team. It was after that exciting news that Julia suffered a rare stroke that caused severe trauma to her brain. This life-altering trauma impaired her short-term memory and balance and left her and her family searching for answers.
The senior year of high school is typically full of growth and plans for the future, however for Julia, almost everything was put on hold. The number one priority became her health and recovery. Not only did she have to come out of the water, she also had to take a step back from routines like school and driving. Her family is very close and with their love and support she has handled this scary time with grace and positivity. Julia is no stranger to commitment and hard work and that is exactly how she spent her summer following graduation. Plans for college were put on hold, so while her peers have started their freshman year, Julia is in therapy, working towards regaining her ability to drive and celebrating every milestone. She has grown leaps and bounds since the stroke and has returned to swimming and even started coaching with some of her extra time. Whether she is on the pool deck cheering for other swimmers or in the water training, she keeps a positive attitude and her eyes on her future.
Julia’s ultimate sports dream would be to meet her role-model, Olympic gold medalist swimmer, Katie Ledecky. .