Local Northlander has heart set on the Olympics
Confidence gained as a young person can carry you through the rest of your life. For one northlander, born with a spinal cord birth defect — his journey hasn’t been easy. Now, as a young adult Blake Eaton looking to live out a longtime dream.
“On the mountain I’m in charge. I feel amazing, energized, independent, free. It’s the only place I ever hear the words slow down,” says Eaton.
You see Blake was born with spina bifida, a birth defect impairing his ability to stand. He says the biggest thing for him to get used to was that he was in a wheelchair every day of his live. It was how he got around.
However, kids adapt, and so did Blake who says his life changed when Northland Adaptive Recreation and the Miller Dawn Foundations introduced him to a popular northland sport at a young age.
“Skiing was the very first sport, I got involved with it when I was 3 or 4 years old. When I was 15 or 16, I joined team Duluth and started doing a couple of competitive local races. So that was kind of a big step being the first ever, you know, model skier and adaptive skier to join like an able-bodied club team.”
Blake’s dream was now to compete in the Olympics and making the U.S. Paralympics ski team.
“I didn’t know it was a realistic dream of it until I got to that point of where people are saying, Hey you’re really good at this. You should try to do it competitively and then I was like okay, I might have a shot the next step is getting my points to where Team USA will notice to say Hey, come train with us come join their team.”
Now Blake is trying to race all over the country to gain points and to do so he must first join one of two Paralympics development team in the country He says, to join that team is about $3500 to join the team. And then its all the equipment, all the pricing of living on your own in Utah, renting the place for how long you stay there, and then groceries, living costs, keeping your skis in tune to keep them as best as you can.
Mike O’Hara the General Manager of Mont Du Lac Ski resort presented Blake with a check for $7500 to help him reach is dream.
“Well it’s an incredible inspiration the things he’s overcome to get at the level he has been at and to go and compete and essentially compete worldwide,” said O’Hara.
Now Blake has currently raised a total of 18,500 dollars toward his dream. If you would like to help you can go to www.mdfoundation.org to donate.