Andrew outfitted with his team uniform in the Paralympic Village
After years of hard work and training, Andrew qualified for the US Paralympic Alpine Ski Team. It is a quest that many of you who read this blog have assisted with through your support and donations over the last few years. Here is one of my past postings about Andrew,
I have written about him several times here, but much of the credit has to go to his immediate family, especially my sister Sheryl , Andrew's mother, for her never ending quest to encourage her son. Sheryl has over the last few years been tireless in her fundraising efforts to pay for Andrew's quest as well as writing a book and illustrating it describing Andrew's efforts, maintaining his website with information, and just basically being Andrew's "manager" , and countless trips to Vermont's Mount Snow for Andrew's training. Sheryl is also an Adaptive Ski Instructor and still volunteers many hours at Mount Snow working with skiers with disabilities
Here is an update I posted in 2014 about Andrew's efforts http://wethepeoplehartford.blogspot.com/2014/03/an-update-on-my-nephew-andrew.html
Sheryl has dealt with airlines to get reduced airfare rates for Andrew's trips to various ski locations in Colorado and Canada and his training around the Country , worked with organizations such as the Enfield Elks to host spaghetti suppers to raise the necessary funding, and spent endless weekends at Brown's Harvest pumpkin patch in Windsor painting pumpkins to raise funds and selling the "Andrew Rocks" painted rocks , which proved very popular. And she did all of this while still maintaining her own career and being a devoted mother to her youngest son Ryan and wife to her husband Rich
And although this posting is about Andrew, I have to give credit to Andrew's younger brother Ryan, who has many times remained in the shadow due to his brother's "notoriety"Ryan started off skiing with Andrew and then also becoming a mentor in the adaptive skiing program at Mount Snow, skiing along side and assisting other skiers with disabilities.
Ryan is always there for his "big" brother. When they were both in High School, Andrew was in the marching band for Fermi High. Due to his Cerebral Palsy, I think Andrew knew he was going to have problems marching the whole Memorial Day Parade in Enfield route a few years ago, his "little" brother Ryan stepped up and pushed Andrew in his wheelchair the entire parade route so that he could be part of the band's celebration
I don't think Andrew has ever seen himself as disabled and I think that spirit shines through today in accomplishing the first step in his goal to make the Paralympic Ski Team. There were challenges as well as injuries along the way, but Andrew has always bounced back. Andrew lives with Cerebral Palsy, but it doesn't rule his life and I wish every child born with a disability had the same strong family , parents and community around to support them as Andrew has.
It quite frankly scares the hell out of me when I was watching the recent Olympics and came to the realization that my nephew, Andrew Haraghey, the kid that we were never sure if he would ever walk, would be coming down those same slopes at 65 or 70 miles an hour as a member of the US Paralympic Ski Team
Best of luck Andrew. Stay safe and stay healthy. Continue to be the inspiration that you are to everyone. Beijing 2022
You can read more about Andrew at his website Andrew Races http://andrewraces.com/