Blind Teen to Skate Inline Marathon with the Pros

By KBJR News 1

September 16, 2011 Updated Sep 16, 2011 at 7:13 AM CST

It is often said that one's greatest accomplishments can arise from the biggest challenges. One Two Harbors woman is proving that statement true by doing the unthinkable.

17-year-old Brooke was unknowingly living with a brain tumor for years.
When doctors removed it this past February, she lost her vision.
But she never lost her purpose.

"She's never really let anything stop her from continuing on even though she's got the loss of her eyes," says her father Chris Wright.

She's proving that once again this Saturday when she laces up and takes on the Northshore Inline Marathon.

"I've actually never heard of it until this year and I really like ice skating and I inline skated a little when I was younger and I thought it would be a new fun thing to try and do," says Brooke.

When the idea was presented to her mom and dad, Kendra and Chris Wright, they were hesitant at first, but once they saw Brooke's determination they were all in.

"At first we were pretty nervous, her mom wanted me to hold her hand. But when we tried that we realized our feet would get tangled holding hands ,so I just let her go and we did two and a half miles that first day without any trouble at all," says Brooke's regular skating partner, her Dad Chris.

Now she and dad are up to five miles every day. On the day we caught up with her, her dad was skating beside her, but come Saturday, she'll be racing with two professional inline skaters.

"I was training and planning to skate Duluth as a racer and hopefully a contender to win the event," says professional speed skater Kyle Joustra.

But when Kyle and his sponsor Powerslide heard about Brooke, plans changed.

"The best way to go about this was to put Brooke on the team and have her as a member of the team for the marathon on September 17."

Speaking to Brooke's classmates last week, Kyle expressed his admiration of his new teammate. He told the audience that as a high tuned athlete there are days when he has to drag himself out to train, and to see her dedication puts everything in perspective.

And although she acts cool about the amazing feat she is about to accomplish, her determination certainly doesn't go un-noticed by those around her.

"She doesn't let her handicap scare her into not doing something she wants to do," says her dad.

"She has some limitations with her vision but other than that you wouldn't know if no one said anything to you," says Kyle.

But for Brooke, when you ask her her reason for doing the marathon, she gives a simple response.

"To Finish."

As of right now, Brooke is registered for the half marathon at 13 miles, but she is very openly considering doing the full 26 miles.

At the Northshore Inline Marathon Exposition on Friday, Powerslide is heading up a silent auction to benefit Brooke's family and to off-set medical costs. $10,000 worth of donations from industry vendors will be up for auction.

Brooke will be at the Powerslide booth all day Friday and post-race Saturday.

Posted by: Courtney Godfrey
cgodfrey@northlandsnewscenter.com

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