“Let’s just jump right in to the crux of this story,” is the opening line from Danica King’s memoir Figure it Out: Snapshots of My Journey with Multiple Sclerosis, but it also describes her involvement with Sportable. Just ask her to name the programs she’s in which she’s participated.
“Cycling,” she says, her voice as lively as her body language. “And archery. Rock climbing. And swimming and kayaking and erging. Oh, and rafting, once, but that was on a bonus day.”
Spend more than five minutes with Danica, and you’ll get the sense she treats every day as a bonus day. Following her MS diagnosis in 2010, Danica admits that she had a few years of denial and depression. But then she went all in. She authored Figure it Out. She travels the state (at least pre-COVID) doing book signings and speaking engagements, and is very active in the MS community.
“I am a professional MSer,” she says with an easy laugh. And maybe that’s part of her
personality, because she also admits that, “I am very competitive, even if it’s only with myself.” In Sportable, Danica has found a natural outlet for that competitiveness, which really comes out on the bike, an adaptive piece of equipment supplied by Sportable.
“I really push myself to set new personal records,” says Danica, beaming about how this year she broke her old distance record by more than 25%—a record she admits she wouldn’t have hit without the encouragement of her loyal Sportable volunteer riding companions. “Their kudos are part of that record,” she says. “They really gave me the extra push to hit my goal.”
If Danica has any Sportable-related regrets, it’s that she waited so long to join. “I knew other people were more disabled than me and I didn’t want to take a spot that someone needed more.” But then she discovered Sportable’s offerings to a wide range of disabilities and when she joined she started bringing others with her.
“She’s an absolute beast at recruiting her network to Sportable programs,” says Josh Sloan, Sportable’s Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator. “And she brings an epic amount of fun and positivity to whatever she attends.”
It’s all a part of how Danica just jumps right in. “Whatever your disability is, Sportable can accommodate with both their equipment and their awesome volunteers,” says Danica. “You find a sense of pride and belonging, and before long you find yourself expanding your horizons and trying different things.”
Written by: Christopher J. Moore, writer and photographer
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